Newswise — PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AANA)Monday New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government to provide pay bonuses to frontline healthcare workersThe American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) applauds this action and encourages Congress to compensate frontline healthcare workers in a manner that reflects the serious risk and harm they are experiencing. 

In an April 14 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, AANA President Kate Jansky, MHS, CRNA, APRN, USA LTC (ret), and AANA CEO Randall D. Moore, DNP,  MBA, CRNA, stated that during the pandemic healthcare workers, including Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), continue to do one thing that is not unprecedented—run toward danger to take care of patients. 

Thank you, Gov. Cuomo for recognizing the risks CRNAs and other frontline healthcare workers experience every day, and how their health and wellbeing are put in jeopardy,” stated Jansky. Though they did not sign up for these conditions, they are not deterred.  The AANA strongly supports fair and equitable hazard pay that is available to all healthcare providers retroactive to the beginning of the crisis. 

Cuomo, during his daily press conference, said healthcare professionals and other essential workers should receive 50 percent bonuses over what they’re being paid to work during a pandemic. 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, CRNAs have continued to provide top-of-the-line anesthesia care, but they have also seen their roles change drastically. CRNA expertise in airway management, hemodynamic monitoring, management of patients on ventilators, placement of invasive lines, and overall management of critically ill patients uniquely positions them to provide life-saving care to those suffering from the novel coronavirus. In fact, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently recognized the valuable role CRNAs are playing in the treatment of COVID-19 by granting long-overdue full practice authority during this pandemic. 

In many cases, CRNAs are working without appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), meaning that they and other healthcare workers are forced to reuse masks or even devise their own PPE in hopes of protecting themselves and others.  

Front-line providers are facing financial burden and strain on their personal lives, opting to stay in hotels to avoid exposing their families – and even going weeks or months without seeing their loved ones,” stated Moore. “We join Gov. Cuomo in calling on Congress to incentivize and properly compensate the front-line healthcare workers who continue to put their lives on the line. 

 As more and more providers become ill and are unable to work, Congress must ensure providers remain on the front lines by granting equitable incentive and retention payments to front-line providers.