Hospitals, long-term care providers dangle incentives for employee COVID-19 vaccinations

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Hospitals and long-term care facilities in the U.S. are offering healthcare workers hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine incentives, The New York Times reported.

The CDC has recommended that initial shot supplies go to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Hospitals and long-term care facilities across the country have worked to vaccinate this group in the weeks since vaccines were first available. But hesitancy among these workers to get the shots has been a factor in the slow start to the country's vaccine rollout, according to the Times.

As of 9 a.m. ET Jan. 13, about 10.3 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, although about 29 million doses have been distributed, according to CDC data

To incentivize people to get vaccinated, Houston Methodist is offering employees a $500 "hope bonus" if they are inoculated and meet other eligibility criteria. Houston Methodist — an eight-hospital health system with about 26,000 employees — said eligible workers can expect to receive the bonus in March.

While the bonus may have encouraged some workers to get shots, it is more than an incentive to get vaccinated, CEO Marc Boom, MD, told Becker's in a phone interview Jan. 12. 

He said the payment is meant "to provide some hope and to provide some thank you and reward, in addition to other bonuses we've paid for all the hard work this past year and then coming into this year. A bonus to give some hope as we're going through a difficult surge throughout Houston."

According to the Times, Houston Methodist is not alone. The newspaper reported that Norcross, Ga.-based PruittHealth, which operates long-term care facilities, said workers who got inoculated would get Waffle House gift cards, and Birmingham, Ala.-based Atlas Senior Living said it is offering up to four days of extra paid time off to workers who get inoculated.

Read the full Times report here


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