Sometimes in a pandemic you get to learn how to do new things.
The Oregon Home Care Commission (OHCC) Executive Director Cheryl Miller was tasked by the Governor’s Office to create a vaccine incentive-outreach program in partnership with SEIU and Carewell SEIU 503. Carewell is a family of training and benefits by Rise Partnership for homecare workers, and personal support workers, and personal care attendants.
“We learned as we went how to make a COVID vaccine clinic work,” Miller said.
They started planning by enlisting support from the Oregon Health Authority COVID-9 Response and Recovery Unit (CRRU) team and their Regional Vaccine Engagement Coordinators. Three FEMA vaccinators came from Florida and Louisiana to give the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
They enlisted Rogue Food Unites to donate about 200 food boxes as an additional incentive. The boxes contained everything needed for a very tasty meal, plus $25 gift cards from a local grocery store. Carewell donated $100 gift cards to give to homecare workers, personal care attendants and personal support workers who get the vaccine.
The Oregon Home Care Commission created swag bags containing stress stars, pens, Post It notes, 211 information and DCI Oregon Provider Time Capture Direct Care Innovations manuals for homecare workers and personal care attendants who are using the new system to track their time to ensure Electronic Visit Verification compliance.
“We did all the right things. People went from the waiting table to the vaccinator table, then waiting area, then got gift bags and food boxes. The FEMA vaccinators were fabulous. If someone was nervous or hesitant about getting the vaccine, they were able to reassure and provide them with additional information,” Miller said.
The team selected the ODHS Roseburg office to hold the event during the time homecare workers would be submitting their vouchers. The Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) staff there also helped support the event.
The OHCC rented tents and chairs from a minority-owned business, Leon’s Party Rentals, and enlisted the services of two interpreters from the Oregon Certified Interpreter’s Network.
ODHS/OHA Shared Services Publications and Creative Design team created flyers and yard signs for the event. Everyone helped with event communications by sending out emails and text messaging to promote the vaccine event. sent out emails and texts to the community to advertise the event.
“Carewell SEIU 503 Benefits is offering vaccine incentives to increase the vaccination rates among homecare providers across Oregon. The incentives help care providers overcome some of the barriers they face to getting vaccinated, like lost work time. They also offset travel costs for those who live in rural areas where access to vaccines may be lower than in urban areas,” said Grace Hidding, Senior Enrollment Organizer II for Carewell SEIU 503.
Besides Homecare Workers and Personal Support Workers, community members, state employees, and consumers and direct support professionals with the individual they support also came to get their COVID vaccines.
About 40 people got vaccinated. One man, a Personal Support Worker came from as far as Reedsport to get his vaccine. The remaining food boxes were split between APD, Child Welfare and Self Sufficiency to provide to clients.
Miller said the vaccine event was a great success.
“We cannot say enough about the APD Roseburg local office hospitality and support! All the people who participated thanked us for being there. People even asked if we could come back tomorrow,” Miller said.
Well, maybe the next event wasn’t the next day, but the Home Care Commission and Carewell held four more COVID vaccine events in Hermiston, North Bend, Pendleton and Salem this fall.