DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable Norma J. Torres
Sent By:
Mariah.Carray2@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Endorsements: American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

Dear Colleague,

Please join me in sending a letter to urge leadership to prioritize the needs of healthcare workers in the 4th coronavirus stimulus package. These professionals are at a higher risk of experiencing severe symptoms and complications when they contract COVID-19.[1]
The Lancet recently estimated that 20% of Italian health professionals have been infected with COVID-19.[2] In Ohio and Minnesota, health care workers make up an estimated 20% of all cases.[3]  To make matters worse, workers across the country are reporting
they lack basic personal protective equipment, increasing their chance of infection. We are in war with this virus, and we must support our heroes who are putting their health and lives on the line.

This letter focuses on four core tenants that I believe we owe workers on the frontlines. The fourth stimulus should include policies that:

  • Prevent cuts to pay and benefits of providers and hospital workers
  • Protect health care workers against retaliation
  • Provide hazard pay and additional financial assistance to our health workers on the frontline
  • Ensure financial support for workers who contract COVID-19 from their work, including expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for providers and their households, financial support for potential long-term effects of severe illness from COVID-19 infection,
    and survivors’ benefits for families of any providers or hospital workers who die from infection of COVID-19 in the health care facility.

I hope you will join me in supporing the needs of healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic. To sign on to this letter, please fill out the following
form (https://forms.gle/anwohvPxAFxZ6Ghp9). You may contact Mariah Carray (carray@mail.house.gov) in my office with
any questions. The deadline to sign on is COB Monday, April 13th. 

Sincerely,

 

Norma J. Torres

Member of Congress 

Letter Text: 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer,

Thank you for your incredible leadership to prioritize American healthcare workers during the coronavirus crisis.  As Congress looks toward a fourth stimulus package,  we ask that we include provisions that protect the jobs of these
frontline workers and ensure they are duly compensated and supported for the risk they are undertaking. These professionals are working around the clock to save lives and stop the spread of the virus. As these heroes risk their lives to combat the epidemic,
they should know that their government has their back.

Health care workers are making a significant sacrifice as they serve the public in this hazardous environment. These workers are at a higher risk of experiencing severe symptoms and complications when they contract COVID-19.[1]
The Lancet recently estimated that 20% of Italian health professionals have been infected with COVID-19.[2] In Ohio and Minnesota, health care workers make up an estimated 20% of all cases.[3] 
To make matters worse, workers across the country are reporting they lack basic personal protective equipment, increasing their chance of infection.

Health care workers deserve our full support for their critical work in this moment. Along with continuing to push for the production and distribution of personal protective equipment that our providers desperately need, we hope that you include provisions
in the fourth stimulus that ensure the following:

  1. Prevent cuts to pay and benefits of providers and hospital workers. A ProPublica report released on March 31st, revealed that many medical corporations are cutting benefits for doctors and nurses during this time. Due to the financial
    burden placed on the healthcare providers from the pandemic, some medical companies are cutting costs by slashing salaries, decreasing hours, withholding earned pay, ending 401(k) matches, suspending paid leave, and putting employees on unpaid furloughs. As
    these heroes risk their lives, they should not have to worry about the impact of these cuts on their families. Just as we are supporting small businesses to keep employees on payroll and prevent cuts to worker pay, we should ensure that hospitals and health
    facilities support our providers and support staff as well.

 

  1. Protect health care workers against retaliation — for example, from wearing their own personal protective equipment or whistleblowing on unsafe practices in their facilities. There are stories of workers being fired for wearing their own
    masks or speaking out about the lack of personal protective equipment in their hospitals.[4][5] These workers are simply trying to protect themselves and their colleagues.
    The public needs them healthy and in their jobs – not otherwise.

 

  1. Provide hazard pay to our health workers on the frontline, as well as financial assistance to cover the needs of the job, such as temporary housing for quarantine purposes away from family members. Such additional compensation would reflect
    the risk that these workers undertake, as well as provide the additional financial support that covers the unexpected costs of being a practicing provider at this time.

 

  1. Provide financial support to these heroes related to the impact of COVID-19 infection from their work, including expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for providers and their households, financial support for potential long-term effects
    of severe illness from COVID-19 infection, and survivors’ benefits for families of any providers or hospital workers who die from infection of COVID-19 in the health care facility. We are in war with this virus, and we must support our heroes who are putting
    their health and lives on the line.

 

In this fourth package, we encourage you to include provisions that are responsive to the sacrifices our health care providers and health care support staff are making every day. When America goes to war, we take care of our soldiers when they are on the
frontline and afterwards, when they return home. We took care of our public safety and law-enforcement officers for the sacrifices they made during 9/11. If we are going to fight the coronavirus like a war, we should protect those fighting for us on the frontlines.
Healthcare workers are protecting us, our families, and our communities. They deserve to be protected in return.

Sincerely,

 

Norma J. Torres

[1] Howard, Jacqueline. “Health Care Workers Getting Sicker from Coronavirus than Other Patients, Expert Says.”
CNN, Cable News Network, 19 Mar. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/03/16/health/doctors-coronavirus-health-care-hit-harder/index.html.

[2] Remuzzi, Andrea, and Giuseppe Remuzzi. “COVID-19 and Italy: What next?”
The Lancet, 2020, doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30627-9.

[3] Przybyla, Heidi, and Sarah Fitzpatrick. “Health Care Workers See Wave of Coronavirus Coming in Their Ranks.”
NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 1 Apr. 2020, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/health-care-workers-see-wave-coronavirus-coming-their-ranks-n1174271.

[4] Fadel, Leila. “Doctors Say Hospitals Are Stopping Them From Wearing Masks.”
NPR, NPR, 2 Apr. 2020, www.npr.org/2020/04/02/825200206/doctors-say-hospitals-are-stopping-them-from-wearing-masks.

[5] Court, Emma, and Kristen V. Brown. “Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak out about Lack of Gear.”
Fortune, Fortune, 31 Mar. 2020, fortune.com/2020/03/31/coronavirus-shortages-hospitals-doctors-fired-face-masks-ppe/.

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:HealthCare, Labor

Related Deadline Information

Deadline Title: COB Monday
Deadline Start: 4/9/2020 6:00:00 PM
Deadline End: 4/13/2020 6:00:00 PM

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