Louisiana hospital to employees: Gas is on us

With an office in the operating room area, Dawn Cazedessus performs her duties as CEO of Sterling Surgical Hospital in Slidell, La., in close proximity to her employees. 

She told Becker's she often can be found conversing with colleagues, physicians, nurses and environmental service workers in the hallways or in the break room.  

"I'm one of these CEOs that wears tennis shoes because I'm going to be in the trenches with my people, and so my door is open a lot," Ms. Cazedessus said. 

The open-door policy is what sparked the idea to cover employees' fuel costs. 

During her encounters with workers over the last two months, she began to see a common thread: No matter the department, they were talking about high fuel and grocery prices. So she considered ways to help her workers that would be feasible for the organization, which, like other hospitals, is also being hit by high supply costs. 

"Our supply costs have gone up tremendously. Just the cost of gloves is outrageously more than what it was," Ms. Cazedessus said. "I sat back and said, 'They're feeling it and we are as well.'"

That's when she had the idea to pay employees' gas costs to come to work for the rest of the year while the hospital monitors evolving economic circumstances. 

Under the program, which launched July 12, each of the hospital's 85 full- and part-time employees will have their fuel costs covered for at least six months via fleet gas cards purchased by Sterling Surgical. Each full-time employee will get $200 a month for the rest of the year, while each part-time employee will get $100 a month to cover gas during that period. Additionally, those who work at the hospital on an as-needed basis who are not full- or part-time employees will receive a $50 gift card they can use at a gas station of their choosing. 

"I wanted our people to know, 'We appreciate you. We could not be who we are today without you. We want to say thank you for choosing to work with us,'" Ms. Cazedessus said. 

Sterling Surgical is among hospitals to recently announce incentives related to fuel costs. Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Ky., will provide gas cards to cancer patients, according to a July 6 Facebook post.

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