Miami Hospital Employees Return to Work Before COVID-19 Tests Come Back
Jackson Health System acknowledges the testing policy and is trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by having employees wear masks, practice hand-hygiene and practice social distancing when possible.
Miami, Florida – Individuals across the country who have been tested for the coronavirus are reporting that they are experiencing significant delays in getting their results back. Some are waiting nearly two weeks before hearing whether they have tested positive or negative for COVID-19, reports Time.
The delays are also affecting workers at Jackson Health System, and some are being asked to return to work before they know the results of their tests, reports NBC Miami. Their union, AFSCME Local 1363, which represents about 5,000 Jackson Health employees, including security officers, says the policy is putting workers’ health in jeopardy.
Union President Rene Sanchez says the hospital has adopted this policy because it is understaffed.
“I’m only assuming Jackson is making that decision because we need people. We need bodies,” he told NBC Miami.
A spokesperson for Jackson Health System acknowledged the hospital is allowing employees to return to work before they get their test results back. Jackson Media Relations Manager Lidia Amoretti said the hospital is preventing the spread of COVID-19 by having employees wear masks, practice hand-hygiene and practice social distancing when possible.
Despite the increased risk of allowing employees to return to work before getting their test results back, they are not receiving hazard pay. The funds for hazard pay are not available because there has been a decrease in elective surgeries.
“That, along with the high costs associated with overtime, supplies, and emergency staffing, have pushed our health system toward a dire financial crisis, yet no employees have been laid off, furloughed, or had their salaries reduced,” said Amoretti. “Like most other health systems in South Florida – public and private – Jackson simply cannot afford to provide hazard pay to our employees at this time.”
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