Emergency room workers in at least six US states are suffering pay cuts of up to 40 percent as thousands of hospitals, which receive most of their revenue from elective procedures that have stopped due to the COVID-19 outbreak, claim to be facing financial problems, according to CBS News.
According to the outlet, many doctors and nurses are also reducing their working hours, although hospitals are facing staff shortages.
“You go through the stages of grief when you get a pay cut,” said Leslie Simon, chair of the emergency medicine department at the Mayo Clinic, cited by CBS News. “And we all did”.
Simon said that doctors and nurses at the Mayo Clinic have taken a 10 percent salary cut due to an anticipated $3 billion loss in the hospital's revenue since the beginning of the outbreak in the US.
“I think it's possible [that some emergency rooms are so inadequately staffed lives may now be at risk],” Simon reportedly said. “I also think a lot of them are at risk for closing”.
However, a Dr. Natasha K, who spoke to CBS News under condition of anonymity, said that although doctors and nurses who are “afraid to go into work in the ER” are facing pay cuts, they are now needed the most during this difficult time.
“We feel like our jobs are more valuable now than ever,” Dr. K said. “It's a little difficult to really digest what happened. It doesn't really change our attitude going to work”.
On Monday, the National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union in the US representing nurses, announced in a press release that it was planning to protest in front of the White House on Tuesday to demand for increased production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers.
During the protest, NNU members are expected to read aloud the names of nurses who have died from the coronavirus disease after being exposed to the deadly virus at hospitals.
Press Release: Nurses to Protest at White House to Demand OSHA Standard and Mass Production of PPE for Health Care Workers— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) April 20, 2020
Nurses demand Congress include a mandatory OSHA emergency standard in its next #COVID19 legislative package.https://t.co/YZJDDy1wdG #ProtectNurses pic.twitter.com/VoCT4X0IGB
As of Monday, the US registered over 786,000 COVID-19 infection cases, with over 42,200 deaths, according to the most recent coronavirus data from the Johns Hopkins University.