Without question, caring for patients during the COVID-19 crisis has been one of greatest challenges our community has ever experienced. From PPE shortages to limited testing, caring for patients, especially residents in skilled nursing facilities, has become increasingly risky.
That’s why, over a month ago in early April, connectRN was one of the first organizations to work toward a global implementation of hazard pay across our clinician communities. In most of our markets (including Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island), this took off. Clinicians were recognized for the increased personal risk they were taking on in their assignments and earned 1.5 to 2 times their standard pay rates.
Everywhere except for Massachusetts.
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Until recently, Massachusetts state law prevented connectRN, and organizations like ours, from implementing hazard pay. Our clinicians grew increasingly frustrated — some even leaving the state entirely to work short-term contracts elsewhere. As a company whose mission is to support nurses in all aspects of their professional lives, we were frustrated, too. We reached out to state officials repeatedly to advocate for a temporary suspension of the law so we could compensate connectRN clinicians fairly for their essential work in highly hazardous conditions.
Last Friday, our advocacy paid off. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services released a new bulletin amending the existing law and raising the rate caps in the Commonwealth. The next day, connectRN implemented hazard pay to all clinicians for hazardous shifts at participating facilities across Massachusetts. We are now paying overtime rates of “time and half’ through June 30, when the amendment is set to expire.
Fair and competitive pay for nurses is a critical component to our nurse-centric mission. We applaud state officials for amending this law during this critical time and allowing us to support our Massachusetts community in the same fashion we support our community in other regions.
Hazard pay is just one way we support and recognize essential healthcare workers during a crisis. We are proud to offer this benefit, alongside others, to our community and continue to advocate for a better way for nurses to work.
connectRN is currently offering hazard pay in Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and now in Massachusetts with plans to expand to other states later this month.