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Home health workers to receive hazard pay

Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced $73 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to provide hazard pay to home health personal care attendants who served high-risk populations during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A one-time, pre-tax payment of $1,500 will be available to an estimated 43,500 home health care workers who provide personal care and who served Medicaid members between March 12 and June 30.

“Home health care workers are often unseen, unsung, and underpaid, but they do the vital work of caring for vulnerable Virginians,” Northam said. “Their jobs put them at higher risk during this pandemic, and this hazard payment is a way we can acknowledge that they put themselves in harm’s way to help others. I want to thank our home health care workers for the work they do every day to keep people healthy.”

Home health care workers provide services that are critical in enabling older Virginians or people with disabilities to continue living in their own homes. In addition to the hazard payments, the state budget that went into effect July 1 included a 7% pay raise over two years for home health workers, and the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) is working to provide those workers with personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.

DMAS, which oversees Virginia’s Medicaid program, will work with providers over the coming weeks to administer the payments to eligible workers.