150 Days on the Frontline Without COVID-19 Financial Support from the State

August 6, 2020 — 150 Days on the Frontline Without COVID-19 Financial Support from the State
By: Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director

Today marks 150 days since Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) issued Executive Order 20-02 declaring a state of public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic's impact on Rhode Island. Since March 9, 2020, Rhode Island's home care and hospice providers have received little support from the Governor's administration by way of access to an adequate and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and zero financial support from the $1.25 billion in federal aid designated by U.S. Congress through the CARES Act that Governor Raimondo has unilateral discretion to include supporting the frontline healthcare workforce. Despite providing healthcare to sub-acute and post-acute COVID-19 positive patients, there remains a significant disparity in how the Governor and her administration have treated home care and hospice providers, their frontline healthcare staff, their patients and their families compared to hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While The Partnership anticipates that there will be a nominal amount of funding that will be announced in the coming days by the administration, it is not expected that it will adequately respond to the growing number of cases in the community, fulfill gaps in care hours by bringing back displaced frontline workers due to childcare and school closures and reopening restrictions or reward those that have worked throughout the public health emergency without "hazard pay" despite being at heightened risk for COVID-19 exposure. 

Because home care and hospice providers have not been financially supported, nor meaningfully recognized by the administration to date, let me attempt to fill that gap by continuing to express my appreciation to every home care and hospice worker on the frontline of this pandemic. It is my hope and relentless advocacy that Governor Raimondo will rectify this disparity caused within the first 150 days of the public health emergency and that U.S. Congress and the Rhode Island General Assembly will remain committed to supporting the needs of healthcare services to our vulnerable homebound patients and the frontline workers that deliver optimal care, especially during this ongoing pandemic.
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