I’m sharing an update on our Care Safe initiative. Our goal has been to protect Virginia’s home care workers and residential care facilities workers from coronavirus so that they can safely care for our most vulnerable Virginians. This initiative is yours, because it’s what the people of the 52nd district named as a top concern back in May. I want you to know what we’ve done.
The last time I wrote, we were celebrating the announcement that Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) was starting to send masks out to Virginia care workers. Since then, DMAS has announced a plan to spend $9.2 million in CARES Act funding to provide masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to home care workers and their patients.
On Monday I joined a virtual town hall with members of the Virginia Association for Home Care and Hospice and the Atlantic Coast Medical Equipment Services Association to discuss their legislative priorities for the upcoming special session. These organizations shared how their members help Virginians get discharged from the hospital sooner and receive care in their own homes and communities – outside of overburdened residential care facilities.
Last Tuesday I sent a letter to Governor Northam asking the administration to use CARES Act funding to offer hazard pay and paid leave to Virginia care workers. Read about my request in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Here’s part of the letter:
“I know we are all thankful for Virginia’s home care workers right now. . . . We don’t have to use our imagination to show our appreciation: Home care workers have told us what they need.
. . . CARES Act funding can be used to provide them paid leave. Without it, low-income home care workers are forced to pick between a paycheck and going to work sick–potentially exposing their high-risk patients.
. . . CARES Act funding can be used to provide hazard pay to home care workers as they carry out this essential public health work. With a temporary payroll boost, home care workers could afford to cut down their caseloads, minimizing the risk of disease transmission.
This is an issue my constituents have told me they want to see addressed.”
As always, I am humbled to serve as your delegate.