Health workers claim they are not receiving COVID incentive
A number of front-line workers at the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital have expressed dissatisfaction with what they consider a lack of respect relating to a Government stipulated COVID-19 incentive payment.
The workers are entitled to a $3,000 payout once it has been verified that they have come in contact with a confirmed COVID-19-positive patient while on the job. However, THE STAR understands that several workers, including ambulance drivers and porters assigned to the hospital, have not collected any payments since April despite coming into contact with COVID-19-positive patients daily. One porter said that he is due payments in excess ofJ$300,000.
"Honestly, they are not saying anything. When you bring it up to the hospital administrator, she acts like she doesn't even want to meet to speak to you. I asked my supervisor, and he said it was over his head," he said. "I feel hurt because I put my life in jeopardy every day for the safety of others, and I am supposed to be compensated somewhat, [even though] it is not much ... . I honestly stop making logs of these things because I know that I won't get it," he said.
One health worker who recently contracted the virus from his close encounter with a COVID-19-positive patient said he has also not been able to secure payments.
"I started making peace with my past when I was sick and out with the virus. I didn't make it on to a ventilating machine,but the experience was very horrific. I called some people to make peace with them because I thought there was a chance that I could die," he said. "I caught the virus from a patient whilst in the line of work and to know that all of this is the reality we face every day and yet we cannot receive the small token is further insult."
However, when contacted by THE STAR, the hospital's CEO, Dennis Morgan, said he was not aware of any staff not having received incentive payments.
"They would have to fill out the register and the claim form. Then that goes to the head of department then to me to be signed off and sent to the regional office, where the auditor will then go through the checks," he said. Morgan also dismissed claims that he was the person who signed off on the claim forms each Friday.
"We do not deny a claim from my desk or from the administrator of the hospital or the accounting department. The registering and rosters are properly filled out ... . Once it comes up to my desk, it usually takes about a week after they submitted for it to make its way through the process. Then it has to be sent to be audited to ensure that the person who is claiming has a right to claim," he said.
Morgan, who said that he would investigate the matter, added, "Every single person that is eligible, that has filled out the claim properly, has been paid or is in the process of being paid."