Compensation Issues

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Proposal provides additional $225 a month to hospital workers battling COVID-19


U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland introduced legislation Sept. 10 providing bonuses for front-line hospital workers amid the pandemic, his office announced

The proposed legislation is in honor of the late Joseph Costa, MD, who served as chief of critical care at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Dr. Costa died July 25 of complications related to COVID-19. He was 56. 

"From day one of this pandemic, there have been heroic people like Dr. Costa running into the fire," Mr. Ruppersberger said in a news release. "We must compensate those on the front-lines who are assuming extraordinary risk to themselves and their families in order to keep the rest of us safe and alive. We have all seen ads, speeches and social media posts thanking our brave healthcare workers — my bill is one way of putting our money where our mouths are."

The Dr. Joseph J. Costa Honoring Essential Americans Risking Their Safety Act would award $225 a month to hospital workers including physicians, nurses, specialists and nonmedical staff such as custodians who work near COVID-19 patients, Mr. Ruppersberger's office said. The amount represents about a 9 percent bonus for lower-wage workers.

Hospital systems can apply for the bonuses on behalf of employees if they are in an HHS-designated COVID-19 hotspot based on hospitalization rates, Mr. Ruppersberger's office said.The bonuses would be retroactive to March to cover previous hotspots.

Under the proposal, workers at long-term, post-acute, skilled nursing and nursing home facilities who treat COVID-19 patients may also be eligible for student loan forgiveness up to 50 percent as well as tuition assistance, Mr. Ruppersberger's office said.

The proposal must still be approved by the House and Senate.


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