When will healthcare workers see NYS bonuses?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Where’s the money? That’s what healthcare workers across New York want to know. They were promised bonuses when the NYS budget passed several months ago but the checks still haven’t arrived.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke has asked all of our local state lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul directly about it and a clear timeline hasn’t been provided. So, on Tuesday when the Speaker of the NYS Assembly was in Rochester, she tried again.

Speaker Carl Heastie was in town to present a $1 million check to the Town of Perinton for a new skate park but hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers are wondering where their checks are. They were promised retention bonuses as a thank-you for their service during the pandemic and for staying on after it.

Jennifer Lewke – Do you have any update on when those healthcare workers might see that money?

Speaker Heastie – Well, first off…the workers absolutely deserve this bonus as we wouldn’t have been able to get through the crisis without them but I think it’s just more of a logistics thing…it’s just a logistical, bureaucratic way of putting things together to put out the applications for the workers but there’s nothing amiss at all.

Jennifer Lewke – When you hear something is passed in the budget and you hear it’s going to impact you, you’re like.. show me the money.

Speaker Heastie – Absolutely I think anytime that we have an intended purpose in the budget and we put finances behind it we like it to get to that party as soon as possible whether it’s an institution a Hospital a municipality and of course here to individual people absolutely we would like to see that happen as soon as possible.

There’s also the matter of those who work in hospitals and nursing homes who feel like they’ve been unfairly left out. As News10NBC has reported, medical residents, food service workers and cleaners aren’t specifically listed as being eligible for the healthcare bonus. The state does have the ability to add job titles to the list.

Jennifer Lewke – Has that been brought to your attention yet and is that something you’re willing to consider?

Speaker Heastie – You know when you’re doing things in the budget and when you list out, sometimes you end up inadvertently leaving people out but I think anybody who was an essential worker during that time in the health care field even those who were doing the non-healthcare work in the health care facilities, I believe that they should be thanked as well.