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They treat COVID patients, but some Beaumont employees won’t receive hazard pay

Beaumont hospital exterior
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 19:21:18-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Even though they treat COVID-19 patients, many Beumont medical workers won’t receive any of the hazard pay recently announced by the hospital.

Earlier this week, Beaumont instituted a disaster relief program that would pay certain staff $500 or $1,000 for treating patients with COVID-19. The program applies to frontline staff like nurses, respiratory therapists and others.

But some Beaumont nurses have learned that, unless they exclusively treat COVID patients, they will not be eligible for the one-time payment, along with a slew of other staff members who regularly come into contact with patients who have tested positive for the virus.

“It felt like I was invisible. That my company doesn’t appreciate my contribution,” said one Beaumont nurse not eligible for the payment. We are not naming her because she has not been authorized to speak by the hospital.

“We were constantly being exposed to COVID patients,” she said.

Within the last month, she has worked in one of the hospital’s curbside tents and has helped transport COVID patients. On one day alone, she estimates coming in to contact with at least 30 COVID patients.

But because she also treats other patients, she has been told she isn’t eligible for an increase in pay.

“Hazard pay is only for bedside nurses or nurses who were fully redeployed to COVID unit,” she said. “That does not cover a large majority of the people who were partially redeployed.”

Other employees like X-ray technologists are also being left out of the hospital’s disaster relief program, even though they regularly interact with COVID patients at their bedside.

“They X-ray every single one of those (COVID) patients,” said another Beaumont employee who asked not to be identified. “Once a patient is on a ventilator…they have to do a chest X-ray every day to test patency of the chest tube.”

Reached today for comment, Beaumont released an e-mailed statement.

“Beaumont is grateful for all of our team members’ commitment to caring for our patients and communities,” said Mark Geary, Beaumont’s direct of media relations. “The intent of our disaster pay relief is to particularly recognize the contributions our team members made on the frontlines of treating COVID-19 patients.”

Recently, it was announced that Kroger, Walmart and other stores deemed essential during the stay-at-home order will raise the pay of their employees, either through hazard pay or bonuses, as a result of working during the pandemic.

“If they can find the money to pay their essential workers a little bit more to relieve the stress and relieve the financial burden that’s on all of us,” said one Beaumont employee, “I believe that Beaumont should be able to do the same thing for all of their employees.”

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at ross.jones@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.