What We Sent to Congress
The American Society of Nurse Advocates has adopted an active position with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. After interviewing our members and other professionals in the industry, we came up with both short-term and long-term objectives. Starting April 3rd, 2020, we sent out letters to United States Representatives and Senators with a detailed approach to solving the some of the issues that have come about from the pandemic. These solutions include:
Use of Employee Owned PPE
A number of healthcare providers nationwide have restricted and limited their staff from wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), even employee-owned PPE, under circumstances where using such protective equipment would normally be appropriate. In other cases, facilities that have run out of PPE (or have stopped distributing it) are restricting their nurses and healthcare staff from using employee-owned equipment. We have asked Congress to require healthcare facilities to permit healthcare workers to provide their own PPE (when the facility does not have adequate supplies), and to not restrict the use of this equipment.
Many of our nurses and members are working around the clock to provide care to COVID-19 patients, risking infection and illness for themselves and their families. Give the dangers associated with COVID-19, we believe that our nurses and healthcare providers should be provided with hazard pay. The Department of Labor's rules and regulations would seem to agree, as they define hazard pay as: " work duty that causes extreme physical discomfort and distress which is not adequately alleviated by protective devices is deemed to impose a physical hardship. " We have asked for Congress's help.
Because of the close contact our members and healthcare providers have with COVID-19 patients, they are at high risk for contracting the disease and spreading it to others. Many of our members and nurses around the country have been sent home to quarantine after showing symptoms of the disease after coming into contact with COVID-19 patients. However, our healthcare professionals are often denied pay for their illness, and in some cases where their symptoms are not the result of COVID-19, they are denied pay despite mandatory quarantines. It is our position that quarantined healthcare workers that come into contact with COVID-19 patients should be paid their normal wages. This would help them fight the disease without having to worry about financial harm to themselves and their families.