Calls for more heath care workers to receive COVID-19 bonus pay


ALBANY,N.Y. (NEWS10)– Health care workers could receive up to $3,000 in bonuses for working during the pandemic, but not everyone is eligible for it.

When it comes to the Assisted Living Industry, Lisa Newcomb, Executive Director for the Empire State Assisted Living Association said, “The only ones that are, are the ones that are Medicaid funded assisted living program.”

Since the Health Care Worker Bonus Program was first introduced, more job titles have been added to the list.

“While the state has since expanded the job titles that are eligible in that Medicaid funded assistant living program— we’re grateful and thankful for that, but that leaves a good 2/3 of the industry where no workers are eligible,” said Newcomb.

She said she’s been advocating for those workers to receive bonuses as well. Newcomb isn’t the only one wanting to see changes. Recently Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara wrote a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul, asking her to reassess qualifications for service workers to include all staff essential to operations at New York Hospitals during the pandemic. He’s calling for employees of the Material Management Department at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady to be included under the classification of service workers.

“The Material Management Team really is a critical function of the hospital,” said Santabarbara. “They supply hospital linens. They were on each floor where patients with COVID were present. They put themselves at the same risk that a lot of other workers did during that period and continue to do so.”

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