top of page

Federal Leaders Seek to Protect Front-Line COVID-19 Medical Care Workers, First Responders

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

The U.S. Select Subcommittee on The Coronavirus Crisis has been holding hearings on a 9/11 Victims Compensation styled-fund, to help provide financial assistance to essential workers on the front lines, including nurses, doctors, paramedics and critical home healthcare workers, who continue their role of entering the homes of seniors, the homebound, and individuals with serious physical and cognitive disabilities, during pandemic, and in turn, helping to reduce the population in nursing homes.

(Carolyn Maloney, U.S Representative for the 12th District of New York)

The proposed legislation, sponsored by U.S. Rep Carolyn Maloney of New York is meant to provide a safety net for frontline workers who helped to keep the economy and necessary services operational, even as many states imposed quarantines, just in case.

The provisions in the bill suggest that funds would be appropriated for five years, as needed, to assist with medical costs, loss of employment and burial costs for these same frontline workers, should they become seriously ill. Family members living with home healthcare aides who become sick through contact also would be eligible to be apply for funds.

In her opening remarks to the committee, Maloney told members why it is so important to provide additional compensation to these front-line workers. “Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, we are all acutely aware of the threats posed to our health and safety. But we do not all face the risks of the crisis equally,” she said. “I believe we have an obligation to ensure that if home health care aides or their families become ill, there are financial resources provided for them.”

Following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on America, tens of thousands of first responders, from all over the nation, who responded to the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center have become sick and many have died from exposure to the toxic air. That experience and need to protect our essential workers, plays critical in the creation of this legislation.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is also a sponsor of the bill. “Our essential workers risk their health and their lives daily to keep us safe,” said Gillibrand. “From the beginning of this crisis, they have been serving on the front lines, getting sick, and some unfortunately are dying. Essential workers stepped up for our country; now Congress needs to step up for them.”

Lori Ames, Home Healthcare Workers of America (HHWA) National Secretary-Treasurer was among those providing testimony and guidance to the House of Representatives committee.

“Our members care for older adults every day in their homes, and over these past months, as COVID-19 devastated communities, our work has helped keep countless thousands remain outside of nursing home settings, where the pandemic caused so much destruction, providing some measure of comfort to families,” said Ames.

“Every day, home care aides are on the front lines, in people’s homes, providing healthcare, other essential work such as shopping, feeding, bathing people who are alone, elderly, physically or mentally disabled, by helping with medication and in many cases companionship.” The home health care union has 22,000 members.

The home health care workforce is critically important to retirees and our senior population, many of whom simply do not want to be relegated to a nursing home prematurely, and would prefer to remain in the comfortable surroundings of their own home for as long as possible.

The proposed legislation, is currently being considered by the House Committee on the Judiciary.

38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page