Hazard Pay and Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Doctors

Hazard Pay and Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Doctors

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Editors Women in White Coats started this petition to U.S. Senate and

Dear U.S. Congress,

Frontline physicians in all 50 states across our nation have been selflessly caring for our communities afflicted with COVID-19 often times at their own peril and without sufficient personal protective equipment.

We are hearing daily from emergency, urgent care,  primary care, hospitalists and intensive care physicians who are capable and willing to care for patients but are in dire need of the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and their coworkers from getting infected with the Caronavirus. 

Doctors who have been charged with the duty to always protect people’s health are being threatened with job loss if they speak up publicly regarding their safety concerns and the lack of resources provided during this pandemic. Many are also facing pay cuts despite the fact that they are risking their lives and potentially endangering other patients, their coworkers and their families by the lack of PPE and lack of evidenced-based safety recommendations.  

Costco, Target and many other retailers are paying essential employees hazard pay for showing up to work during the pandemic, meanwhile doctors are actually being threatened by hospital administrators and employers with pay cuts and no overtime pay. Some are being fired for speaking up regarding the lack of PPE.

President Trump has stated that we are at war with an invisible enemy and the nation’s doctors are on the frontlines. Physicians certainly feel they are gearing up for war every time they go to work to care for patients. Even though doctors are civilians who never expected to be faced with such a lack of support from our institutions and government, we truly are the nation’s foot soldiers in this pandemic continually showing up out of duty to our patients and our communities.

Yet, physicians earn none of the benefits that military soldiers do. First, we are not given the right equipment to do jobs (a soldier would never be sent to battle with out the proper equipment), nor are we given hazard pay or any loan forgiveness. (Currently doctors graduate from medical school with over $200k in student loans on average.) Many who are part-time physicians do not even get employer sponsored health insurance and are left to pay for their insurance 100% out of pocket. Other physicians are bound by contractual restrictive covenants barring them from helping at other hospitals or healthcare facilities in their area. 

The public and likely many politicians believe doctors earn huge salaries, and that they can afford to take pay cuts, but only 16% of the nation’s healthcare spending goes to pay physician’s for their services. Furthermore, with the crushing loan debt that doctors graduate with, the income they earn is offset by loan repayment for a decade or more in most cases. 

Today we ask our elected officials to stand up for front line doctors, some of the nation’s brightest, most dedicated and selfless individuals and provide them with:

  • personal protective equipment that they need;
  • hazard pay;
  • loan forgiveness;
  • dissolution of restrictive covenants so doctors may help wherever they are needed;
  • government-sponsored health insurance (Medicare) for part-time physicians;
  • protection from being fired or losing hospital privileges under whistle-blower laws

Thank you for your consideration in this extremely important matter. We are confident you will do the right thing and show your gratitude and appreciation for our nation’s frontline heroes in an expedient manner. 

Sincerely, 
Women in White Coats

womeninwhitecoats.com

Sources:

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927811?src=soc_lk_share

https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/economics/analysis-health-care-spending-where-do-dollars-go

https://www.credible.com/blog/statistics/average-medical-school-debt/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-31/hospitals-tell-doctors-they-ll-be-fired-if-they-talk-to-press

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!