How will CA pay bonuses to hospital, health care workers?

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UC Davis Health nurse Alma Pelayo filled up a syringe of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as part of the communitywide effort to prevent the spread of the respiratory disease.

Sacramento Bee file

To get retention bonuses proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California front-line health care workers will have to be currently employed by one of California’s hospitals or skilled nursing facilities.

If the bonuses are approved by the Legislature, the California Department of Health Care Services would oversee distribution of the funds and communicate the process for payment to specified workers via hospitals and nursing facilities, agency spokesman Anthony Cava said.

The governor also recommended that legislators exclude the bonuses from state income taxes.

The payments are part of an $18.1 billion inflation relief package that the governor has proposed in his May budget revision.

In total, Newsom has proposed spending $933 million as a thank-you to health care workers trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save the lives of those who have contracted the respiratory illness.

“Program requirements will be developed and communicated, but it is envisioned the state will make base payments of $1,000 for full-time workers and $750 for part-time workers, and will match specified facility payments of up to $500 for full-time workers and up to $750 for part-time workers,” Cava said. “If program participation exceeds available funding, payments will be reduced on a pro-rata basis.”

Newsom’s May budget revision requires legislative approval. The governor and legislature are expected to approve the budget by late June because the current fiscal year ends June 30.

A number of key health care industry groups and unions have applauded the bonuses, including the California Nurses Association, the California Hospital Association and the California Medical Association.

This story was originally published May 17, 2022 5:25 AM.

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Cathie Anderson covers health care for The Bee. Growing up, her blue-collar parents paid out of pocket for care. She joined The Bee in 2002, with roles including business columnist and features editor. She previously worked at papers including the Dallas Morning News, Detroit News and Austin American-Statesman.


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