CLAYTON, Mo. — Centene Corp., St. Louis' largest public company, said Thursday it will delay the first phase of its return to office plan to provide additional time for employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Clayton-based company, which provides managed health care plans including under Medicare and Medicaid, said the move is part of its push to protect plan members and employees from contracting the virus, as well as to prepare for expected vaccine and testing requirements for federal contractors.
Centene said it is delaying the first phase of its "return to in-person engagement" from Sept. 13 until Oct. 18, which will give employees more time to be vaccinated. The company said that following the national availability of vaccines, it had developed a "conservative," hybrid approach for return to in-person engagement for this fall.
The company said that earlier this week, it requested that all employees provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination "as soon as possible." Centene will require employees who don't provide proof of vaccination to undergo regular Covid-19 testing and wear masks at all times in company offices, officials said.
Over 5,000 of the company's more than 70,000 employees are based in the St. Louis area.
Centene also will require all new employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment beginning Oct. 1. On that date it also will require business contractors and subcontractors to provide proof of vaccination before entering the company's offices. The company said it also will require employees to be fully vaccinated who are making in-home visits to plan members or clinical facility visits with direct interaction with members.
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