One Team, Looking to the Future
By Mike Lauf, president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare
Healthcare is the consummate team sport, made up of people who are selfless by nature. Every single person in the healthcare environment plays a vital role in our success at Cape Cod Healthcare. Registrars play a role; environmental service workers play a role; nurses and doctors and techs and aides and therapists play a role; IT staff play a role. Each person is an essential part of the fulfillment of our mission to take care of everybody who comes through our doors, regardless of what they have, where they’re from or what they believe in.
COVID has taught us many lessons. We’ve been through wave after wave after wave and our incredible workforce still shows up to care for our patients and our community. Along the way, we, like every single other healthcare organization in the country, have dealt with staffing shortages. Some as a result of COVID; some because people decided it’s time for a change; some because we’ve seen workplace violence escalate with both patients and visitors.
What’s so interesting about the future, as we come through this pandemic, is that it has taught us there are new ways to do things, such as the utilization of telemedicine for patient care and allowing eligible staff to work from home and not have to be in the office each and every day. We are continuing to look at creative ways to operate here at Cape Cod Healthcare. We have seen the future of healthcare and will meet it head-on.
In the next 30 days, we will present new opportunities to our community in pursuit of people to work with us. There will be innovative approaches to weekend shifts, to night shifts, to hiring, and to schedule flexibility. We are going to work very hard to make sure that our healthcare professionals, led by our Nursing Division, are attracting the very best in the profession to take a look at Cape Cod Healthcare and consider working here. We are looking at different and attractive approaches to education, retention, recruitment, advancement and fulfillment.
We’re doing this because healthcare is a team sport and it’s also a people business. Not everything can be done through the prism of an iPhone or computer screen. Most of our work must be done in person, face to face, and we need dedicated people who are willing to do that.
These new and innovative approaches will come at the same time we are dealing with a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Right now, more than 500 Cape Cod Healthcare employees have not received their vaccination, and that’s far too many. While we recognize and appreciate the right of individuals to elect not to be vaccinated, we also know that because of federal law, we are required to make sure each and every person that performs a task within Cape Cod Healthcare is vaccinated against this terrible disease. We will not qualify for Medicare and Medicaid if all of our employees are not vaccinated.
So, a mandate is now in effect that states in order to work at Cape Cod Healthcare, you must have at least one dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one dose of Johnson and Johnson to be eligible to work by December 1, 2021.
In the midst of this ongoing pandemic, we are once again faced with what seems like insurmountable odds. How do we recruit 500 people to fill existing openings, and how do we make sure that 500 additional people – our employees – get vaccinated? I would ask that each of you decide what is best for you. But I would also ask that, given the fact that every healthcare institution in the country will be required to mandate 100 percent employee vaccination, you elect to get your vaccine sooner rather than later.
Each of you who has chosen to work in healthcare has a gift, and that gift is one of selflessness. You give of yourself to others, ensuring that your loved ones, your friends and your neighbors have a safe place in which to be cared for. So, as we head into fall, we have a large, very real task ahead of us: to retain and recruit, so we can continue to take care of people and meet our mission. I ask all of you to do whatever is necessary to help us fulfill this goal.