SNFs Approach Mandated Vaccination Rates

SNFs Approach Mandated Vaccination Rates

Recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates skilled nursing facilities are steadily approaching required vaccinated rates for employees as mandated by CMS, reports Skilled Nursing News. About 85 percent of employees have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 per facility. The rate for vaccinated residents is slightly higher at 87.3 percent. Rates for booster shots lag behind significantly for staff at 40.5 percent, while at about 73.4 percent for residents.

Large facilities have used different tactics to help reach the vaccination rates. For example, Georgia based PruittHealth allotted $23.4 million to help incentivize vaccine uptake and to help retain their employees. They offered cash raffles for employees who were vaccinated and bonus pay ranging from $250 to $1500 per person. With this strategy, Pruitt was able to achieve a 100 percent vaccination rate among all employees in March.

Booster rates lag behind as trust for the vaccine was compromised when omicron caused breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states vaccinated individuals are still better protected against hospitalization, severe illness and death if they have received the booster shot when compared to those who have not received it. For the two-dose vaccine, an individual is qualified for a  booster shot five months after the second dose and two months after the one-shot vaccine – Johnson & Johnson.

vaccination rates

CMS issued guidance that as of March 10, nursing home staff who have not received all recommended vaccines and booster shots if eligible, must get tested once per week. Some states such as Illinois mandated the booster shot in February before CMS passed the guidance to avoid weekly testing.

Rural facilities have faced significant challenges in achieving vaccination rates compared to their urban counterparts. Rural operators in Ohio linger behind with a 30 percent vaccination rate among their staff, whereas urban operators average between 80 to 90 percent. The communication regarding the vaccinations from the facilities may have caused this outcome. However, individuals in rural settings also have strong sentiments against the vaccines themselves.