Good Samaritan Society using vaccine mandate to attract more workers

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:54 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Good Samaritan Society was one of the first providers of senior care and services in the region to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for its employees.

“We’ve been pretty surprised at the response. We’ve had as many people call up and say, ‘you know what I want to come work for you,’ as we’ve had other people say, ‘you know what maybe this isn’t the place for me,’” said Nate Schema, Vice President of Operations for the Good Samaritan Society.

According to a recent survey by the American Health Care Association, 86% of nursing homes and 77% of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the last three months.

The Good Samaritan Society isn’t immune to the shifting workforce landscape, but they believe their policy is a plus when it comes to attracting employees. Schema said a recent one-day event focused on having a fully vaccinated staff helped the organization hire than 100 people for their facilities.

“We’ve been really encouraged by the response from folks saying, ‘you know what we see that you have over 90% of your residents already vaccinated, you have over 70% plus of your staff vaccinated, it’s one of the safest places you can go to work right now,’” said Schema.

Jenna Szymanski works for The Good Samaritan Society and says the choice to mandate the vaccine gave her more peace of mind when coming into work every day.

“I myself am immunocompromised. I’m a juvenile diabetic for 20 years now, so the vaccine to me is safety. It was anxiety relief. It’s good to know that coworkers like myself, and our residents, are now less at risk,” said Szymanski.

With the staff getting fully vaccinated, Szymanski says she can work with one less worry on her mind.

“I got into nursing to help people and to care for them, so knowing I work in an environment that people share the same common goals and values that I do towards the vaccine has been great,” said Szymanski.

Medicare and Medicaid services recently released a new online tool to compare COVID vaccination rates among nursing homes. The website can be found by clicking here.

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