By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
One of the largest hospitals in Wyoming saw a significant increase in vaccination rates among its employees after implementing a vaccine incentive program.
Two months after announcing its vaccine incentive program, the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center has seen a 15% increase among employee vaccinations, its CEO told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.
“On July 22 of this year, we announced an incentive initiative to promote employees voluntarily receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” hospital CEO Tim Thornell told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “The incentive gave employees a choice of additional (paid time off) or a single cash payment for getting their COVID-19 vaccine. Prior to the initiative we had about 60% of our staff fully vaccinated. With the incentive in place for two months now, we are at about 75% of our staff fully vaccinated, so we have seen an appreciable improvement in our vaccination rate.”
CRMC employees who are fully vaccinated by Oct. 31 are eligible for the following: full-time employees can receive either 16 hours of paid time off or a $600 bonus, part-time employees can receive either eight hours of PTO or a $300 bonus and PRN employees (those hired on an on-call basis) will receive a $150 bonus.
This is in contrast to the Wyoming Medical Center and a number of Banner Health medical clinics across Wyoming, where employees will be required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 or lose their jobs.
As a state, Wyoming has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with 37.1% of the population receiving either both of the two-shot vaccinations or the single-shot vaccination made by Jannsen.
A number of organizations in Wyoming have implemented vaccine incentive programs and at least some have seen success.
Earlier this month, the Laramie County School District No. 1, which encompasses Cheyenne, offered a one-time incentive of $500 to employees who are already fully vaccinated or are willing to undergo bi-monthly COVID tests.
District spokeswoman Mary Quast told Cowboy State Daily that approximately 1,345 employees have provided vaccination information for the incentive, approximately 56% of all permanent employees.
In late July, the city of Cheyenne announced it would offer extra vacation hours for full-time employees or additional payroll hours for part-time and seasonal employees who were fully vaccinated by Oct. 31.
City spokesman Michael Skinner told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that 266 city employees, 49% of the full-time workforce, were vaccinated and will receive the incentive.