Georgia to spend hundreds of thousands on COVID vaccine incentive for state employees

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has introduced a plan to spend hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to provide incentives to state employees who get vaccinated towards COVID-19.

Kemp mentioned Georgia would give the members of the State Well being Plan and their dependents $150 reward playing cards or $450 in well being care credit as soon as they’re absolutely vaccinated. The plan may value the state $48 million to $146 million, relying on how a lot every employee receives.

It’s unclear how the inducement plan shall be funded. Kemp’s workplace didn’t reply Tuesday to a number of requests for particulars on the inducement plan.

“Vaccination stays our simplest instrument towards COVID-19, and I proceed to induce all Georgians who haven’t finished so but to speak to a medical skilled about getting vaccinated,” Kemp mentioned Monday throughout a information briefing.

Kemp mentioned 325,000 State Well being Plan members are eligible for the incentives, which would come with those that had been beforehand vaccinated towards the virus. Members can use the credit for copayments and coinsurance. State employees who’re a part of the State Well being Plan have till Nov. 30 to qualify for the funds.

Kemp made positive employees have the time to get the vaccine pictures. He ordered all states places of work closed Friday to encourage state employees to get vaccinated.

Kemp’s incentive plan comes as Georgia Division of Public Well being Commissioner Kathleen Toomey mentioned the state had the very best variety of weekly outbreaks (170 outbreaks) ever throughout the pandemic. Toomey mentioned all the state’s 159 counties are at excessive transmission ranges.

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Kemp additionally mentioned he would direct $4.5 million to the Georgia Coordinating Heart (GCC), bringing the full allocation to $6 million this 12 months to assist the state’s COVID-19 efforts. The middle coordinates using emergency rooms in emergency departments within the metro Atlanta space. Kemp mentioned the extra funding would assist the middle rent extra employees, enhance expertise and infrastructure and supply sooner service.

“The GCC has been very efficient in plane visitors controlling, if you’ll, by guaranteeing that we’re using all of our hospitals and [Emergency Management Services] assets successfully in our combat towards COVID 19,” Kemp mentioned. “They’ve finished outstanding work and have definitely saved lives.”

As of Tuesday, 86.8% of the inpatient hospital beds in Georgia are in use, and 94.5% of Georgia’s ICU beds are occupied.

Kemp mentioned Aug. 16 the state would spend $125 million to broaden hospital employees and enhance hospital capability, bringing whole spending on extra hospital staffing to $625 million.

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