Where are the promised bonuses for healthcare workers?
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Where’s the money? That’s what those of you who are frontline healthcare workers want to know about the bonuses you were promised by the State of New York.
Governor Kathy Hochul bragged about the bonuses for weeks after her budget was signed but the people who qualify want to know when they can expect their cash.
News10NBC takes calls and emails daily with questions about the bonuses. Senator Jeremy Cooney’s office does too. "We were very proud as a state legislature to support bonuses for our frontline workers the question is…show me the money when is it actually going to come to fruition,” Senator Cooney says.
News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke asked Governor Kathy Hochul directly for a timeline on when the bonuses would be paid out when the Governor visited Rochester a few weeks ago, “this was literally just passed in the budget a few weeks ago so, it does not come out that fast but I’ll check on it and see if we can expedite that for those individuals,” she said at the time.
24 days later, a spokeswoman from the Governor’s Department of Health told Lewke, “There is no further update at this time. More information is forthcoming and I’d be happy to make sure that gets to you when it is available.”
Senator Cooney – We’ve also been pushing for these checks to be released sooner rather than later.
Jennifer Lewke – And have you been given any sort of timetable? We started this conversation with show me the money…where is it?
Senator Cooney – We’ve heard a variety of different things, nothing in writing of course and this is the decision that’s outside of legislative control, I’m hearing late fall so before we go into the holiday season.
The other issue with the bonuses is the list of those who are (or are not) eligible. While there are 94 job titles included, not listed are medical residents, healthcare environmental, or food service employees.
Senator Cooney – A lot of those entry-level healthcare worker positions, these are the folks who worked overnight, these are the folks who have families and who don’t have as high incomes so we want to make sure they’re taken care of in this process.
Jennifer Lewke – Have you gotten any indication that there’s any flexibility there with the state when it comes to including job titles that are listed already?
Senator Cooney – I have. I’m hearing a willingness to engage, no one is writing anything in stone we wanna make sure we get it right and of course, we have a finite amount of resources so we don’t wanna make it so large that everyone gets very little.
Senator Cooney says a balance needs to be nailed down and nailed down soon, “we have put the money in the pot, we need the Governor and her agencies and the department heads and the commissioners to actually get these dollars out the door.”