Employees compensation invoice would profit well being care staff with COVID

RICHMOND, Virginia (WDBJ) – Holly Zimmerman is a registered nurse who was caring for COVID-positive patients in a long-term care facility when he fell ill in late July.

The Bassett resident hasn’t been the same since contracting COVID-19.

“I’ve gotten a lot better now, but it has taken me so long in the past six months that I have severe cognitive deficits,” Zimmerman told WDBJ7. “There are two weeks that I can’t remember.”

Health problems and overwhelming fatigue are only part of the problem. The illness has also taken a financial toll, and like many other Virginia health workers, it is not eligible for employee compensation.

“We currently have hundreds of healthcare workers who have applied for employee compensation for being in the hospital, on a ventilator, still in need of oxygen, and in need of rehab to get their lives back after contracting this terrible disease and everyone their claims will be denied, “said Del. Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg).

Hurst introduced laws that would extend coverage to COVID-19 as a work-related illness for health care workers directly involved in the diagnosis and treatment of COVID patients. The measure would be retroactive.

The Senate has taken a similar measure because of the cost. Employers and insurers also fear the effects.

John Heard represented the Virginia Self-Insurers Association at a January hearing.

“Nobody knew the possible effects of this virus early last year,” Heard told lawmakers. “Not enough bonuses were collected. And we still don’t understand the latent medical effects this virus can have. “

But Hurst and government health workers advocates hope the limits of the legislation will become more acceptable to Senate members and will help health workers like Holly Zimmerman.

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