At Tampa General Hospital, employees have a choice: get a flu shot or wear a mask.
They have another incentive, too. Employees who did not get a flu shot pay a higher medical insurance premium than colleagues that get a shot ($5 per pay period or 130 dollars per year).
It was part of a push to get more of the hospital's 6,500 employees to get a flu shot this year, following recommendations by a national accreditation organization.
"We have an obligation as a health care organization to protect our very ill patients and also to protect our employees," said Joann Shea, director of employee health services at TGH.
With the new program, 95 percent of employees got flu shots this season – up from 64 percent last flu season.
Some employees initially declined, but then changed their mind after wearing the mask for a day, she said.
The hospital also urged vendors, volunteers and students to get flu shots.
"What you're going to see probably next year is the majority of hospitals in the United States will probably require flu shots as a condition of employment, or require a flu shot or the employees to wear a mask," Shea said.
200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606
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