Hospitals provide Covid-19 benefits to healthcare workers, but not hazard pay
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – As healthcare workers fight to save lives and stop the spread of Covid-19, Middle Georgia hospitals say they are offering more benefits to workers. But some workers tell 41NBC, that is not enough. They want hazard pay.
Employees at Coliseum Health Systems say the coronavirus has changed the way they perform their duties. 41NBC talked to Eligah Pitts, a patient care tech who has worked for Coliseum for five years. Pitts says COVID-19 has added an extra level of stress to the job. Plus, he says co-workers fear catching the virus or even bringing it home to family. Pitts says the added stress and fear should come with additional pay.
“Now it’s just the extra, taking the extra precaution and the extra steps in order to be protected and to make sure that we don’t contract the virus or endanger our lives or family members or coworkers as well,” said Pitts. “So, we are not receiving hazard pay. And a lot of people have expressed concerns about that.”
We took the hazard pay request to Coliseum Health Systems, which includes Coliseum Medical Centers, Coliseum Northside Hospital and Fairview Park Hospital.
Coliseum responded saying: “We value and appreciate the tireless efforts made by ALL of our team members over the last couple of months. It’s been our goal since the beginning of this crisis to make sure that all our full-time and part-time employees are taken care of.”
Coliseum goes on to say the health system introduced a pandemic pay program that provides financial support for colleagues that worked in closed areas or areas that have experienced significant drops in patient volume due to Covid-19.
Additionally, Coliseum Health System and Fairview Park Hospital provide other benefits, including options for child or elder care, free Doctors on Demand telemedicine, emotional support and counseling services and HCA Healthcare Hope Fund grants to help with financial needs. Coliseum Health System says it has made hotel rooms available to caregivers treating Covid-19 patients.
41NBC also checked with Medical Center Navicent Health. Navicent says it offers pay differential for a number of reasons, including routinely treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19, working night shifts and weekends and for those working in intensive care units.