Northwell Health announced that it is acknowledging the bravery of its front-line staff in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by awarding them a $2,500 lump sum payment and one week of paid time off (PTO) that can be used at any time during their employment with the health system.
“Our dedicated staff’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of heroic,” said Northwell president and CEO Michael Dowling. “Thanks to the courage and commitment of our front-line caregivers, we answered the call in service to the patients and communities who entrust us with their care.”
Nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and other direct patient caregivers – including both union and non-union – are eligible for the recognition program, as are environmental services workers, housekeepers and other unsung heroes, including those in outpatient and corporate roles who went above and beyond in working behind the scenes to maintain effective operations during an unprecedented surge in patient volume.
It is estimated that about 45,000 team members are eligible for the payments and one-week of supplemental PTO.
Since the coronavirus crisis began in early March, Northwell hospitals treated and discharged more than 6,100 patients. More than 2,600 are still hospitalized. Throughout the response efforts to COVID-19, Northwell has made the needs of its staff members a top priority, maintaining an adequate supply of personal protective equipment to keep them safe.
In addition, the health system expanded the benefits and services available to team members, including backup child care and temporary housing for front-line caregivers fearful of going home and potentially exposing family members to the virus.
Northwell also expanded programs to care for the staff’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, including greater access to timely, onsite support sessions for those grappling with feelings of grief and struggling to cope.
In addition, Northwell launched an Employee Emotional Resource Center, to support employees and their loved ones who are experiencing stress and anxiety due to their experience over the past six weeks. Accessible by phone 24 hours, seven days per week, the resource center is staffed by Northwell experts. Resources may include referrals to a number of Northwell support services, including digital tools to help assess/address emotional and well-being needs, licensed social workers and behavioral health experts and certified well-being coaches specializing in nutrition and exercise.
“The battle against COVID-19 has been grueling and no one knows that more than those who put themselves in harm’s way to meet the physical and emotional needs of our patients, who were without the support of family members because of hospital visitation restrictions,” said senior vice president and chief people officer Joseph Moscola. “Great people shine brightly in times of crisis, and thousands of our team members rose to confront the worst public health crisis of a lifetime.”