Medical billing and coding professionals in El Paso may have some good news on the horizon. Despite both legislators and physicians alike working hard to urge hazard pay for all healthcare workers on the front lines fighting COVID-19, the truth is that it has yet to become a reality. On the other hand, a new U.S. aid proposal totaling $3 trillion, as well as other grassroots and legislative efforts, could be what finally ends up leading to the hazard pay.
Democrats in the United States House of Representatives this week unveiled the Heroes Act, which is a $3 trillion coronavirus aid package that includes $1 trillion for states, cities, and tribal governments to help with avoiding layoffs, as well as a second wave of stimulus checks for Americans – $1,200 direct cash aid to individuals increased to up to $6,000 per household. Additionally, the Heroes act also includes $75 billion in additional funds for COVID-19 testing, as well as multiple other programs.
The Heroes Act also contains a total of $200 billion in hazard pay for essential workers; however, it doesn’t specify exactly how much of that money would be designated for healthcare workers.
Hazard pay from the Heroes Act, however, may end up taking a while to move through the actual process, as Senate Republicans have gone on record of stating that they will not vote on any new relief bills until the end of the Memorial Day weekend.
Despite this, other hazard pay proposals remain possible. For instance, a MoveOn petition, described as being “one of the fastest-growing petitions in MoveOn history,” is urging Congress to provide all essential workers with $600 in hazard pay beyond the normal amount of compensation that they make.
Additionally, medical student residents who attend New York University have asked NYU Langone Hospital for “significant” additional pay for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as $1 million life insurance coverage in addition to other benefits. Furthermore, they have also requested no medical bills for treatment, testing, hospitalization, or emergency room visits related to COVID-19.
Below is what the residents had to say regarding this:
“As doctors, we are committed to serving our patients. However, during this unprecedented time, we now find ourselves and our families at risk in ways we never imagined. Despite local and national efforts to protect us, healthcare workers are getting sick, and in several instances, dying of COVID. In addition, we are experiencing both increased hours and patient loads in the ED, in the wards, and in the ICU.”
The request, however, was denied.
Additional Congressional bills could also end up resulting in hazard pay funds to physicians, however. For instance, the Patriot Pay proposal from Senator Mitt Romney states that frontline workers making under $50,000 annually should receive a $12 per hour temporary bonus. Alternatively, the tax credit phases out by $24 for every additional $500 in income until annualized incomes hit $90,000 for essential employees who make over $50,000 annually.
Romney had the following to say regarding this via a press release:
“Health care professionals, grocery store workers, food processors, and many others – the unsung patriots on the frontline of this pandemic – every day risk their safety for the health and well-being of our country, and they deserve our unwavering support. Patriot Pay is a way for us to reward our essential workers as they continue to keep Americans safe, healthy, and fed.”
If your practice is looking for new revenue streams or needs help reconfiguring your services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, please give us a call and ask about our practice consulting. We have helped many El Paso practices just like yours, and we look forward to serving you.