Press Release

Val Arkoosh Unveils COVID-19 Frontline Workers Health Care Fund Standing With Frontline Workers In Philadelphia

December 9, 2021

Val Arkoosh Unveils COVID-19 Frontline Workers Health Care Fund Standing With Frontline Workers In Philadelphia

Similar To The 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, Val Proposes Fund To Cover Health Care Costs of Frontline Workers Who Got COVID-19, Payouts To Survivors Of Those Who Died Of The Virus In Frontline Roles

View Val’s Proposal HERE

 

 

PHILADELPHIA — Today, Dr. Val Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and candidate for U.S. Senate, joined frontline workers at Transportation Workers Union 234 to unveil the COVID-19 Frontline Workers Health Care Fund, a proposal to support frontline workers who get COVID-19 and families of those in frontline jobs lost to the virus.

“Workers on our frontlines — from health care workers caring for the ill and keeping our hospitals clean, to grocery store and public transportation workers — have kept our country and our economy moving at risk to their own health and their families,” said Val Arkoosh. “A fund like this alone will not solve every challenge our essential workers face and we have to keep working to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits for workers across these industries. This compensation is one step we can take to give frontline workers the support they deserve and have earned and to honor their ongoing service and sacrifices.”

Similar to the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund, Val is proposing a fund to help frontline workers who contracted COVID-19. The fund would cover their primary health care and any health care claims associated with post-COVID conditions or long-haul COVID. It would also support spouses and dependents of those whose loved ones died of COVID-19 while working in a frontline job.  You can read the proposal HERE.

Val was joined by State Senator Art Haywood and frontline workers today at TWU 234 in Philadelphia to talk about the plan. 

Brian Pollitt, TWU 234 Executive Vice President: “Here at Local 234 our motto is we must and we will. Those words took on added meaning over the last two years. It quickly became apparent after the pandemic began that our members must work, otherwise, hospitals wouldn’t be staffed and other essential workers in grocery stores, the U.S. Postal Service, and many additional work places wouldn’t be able to do their work because they couldn’t get to work without us being on the job. Dr. Val Arkoosh understands how important it is that we value and support essential workers.”

Marc Ost, Co-Owner of Eric’s Rx Shoppe in Horsham, which has provided close to 50,000 vaccines: “When this pandemic hit, just like SEPTA workers, we were essential workers. I looked at my employees and asked them if they were willing to work, and if they were willing to work, we took every precaution we could to keep everybody safe. It wasn’t just for them it was for my family, their families, and our customers. Anything we can do to repay people who have given their time, their effort, their health in order to make not just their family but society a better place is a good start.”

Dominica Leisey, RN: “Our mental and physical health has been challenged. We are losing health care workers in record numbers across the nation and we are tired. We are not able to deliver the standard of care we hold ourselves to deliver and that makes us so sad. We have also seen resilience, commitment, and compassion to continue to do our part as we hope others will to do what we can to support us and their own health care to end this. We are grateful for leaders like Val who work diligently not just to recognize our dedication and the wear and tear that we’ve experienced, but to support and lift us up as we experience this sad and scary time in our lives.”

State Senator Art Haywood: “Val is a physician and brings her medical experience to this current crisis that we have, but it’s not just an understanding of the impact of the virus on us all. She is a doctor that has compassion.”

Here are more details about the COVID-19 Frontline Workers Health Care Fund

  • The fund would cover health care costs of anyone who worked in an essential job anytime between February 2020 and a yet to be determined date in the future and got COVID-19. The fund would cover frontline workers’ health care until they are Medicare eligible, including all claims associated with having had COVID-19 and lingering post-COVID conditions or illnesses.

  • The fund would also support spouses and dependents of those whose loved ones died of COVID-19 while working in a frontline job.

  • The fund would have its own mental health fund to support mental health for frontline workers to help alleviate burnout and other mental health challenges faced by these workers.

  • The fund will rely on both presumptive eligibility and a claims process. A commission should be created and an executor appointed, as was appointed to oversee the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. The Commission will have two purposes: first, the Commission should study what data exists through public health data collection at the CDC or otherwise to help identify and contact families of those who’ve died, so the burden is not on these families to apply for money they are owed; and second, to recommend further guidance on eligibility and oversee the claims process and public education on the fund.

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