Doctors Asked to Work the COVID Frontline Without Pay

May 22, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified May 26, 2020

According to this article recently published in Medscape, several physicians are being asked to join the COVID-19 frontlines for decreased or no pay. Dr Ryan Barnett, an anesthesia intensivist in California, completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He reached out to the hospital, offering to fly out and assist in the COVID-19 unit. He was told that his help would be appreciated, but he would not be paid.

“It didn’t even cross my mind that they would expect me to work on the frontline without reimbursement,” he said. “I had to think about the fact that I’d be leaving my primary job, be gone for weeks or possibly months, then be quarantined after that, all with student loans to pay.” He decided not to go.

Dr. Alok Patel, author of the article further explained the frustration: “We need to remind the higher-ups that physicians aren’t martyrs or soldiers. I’m personally not sure if this should come in the form of more advocacy, unionization, or contracts with staffing agencies, but we have to take action. Otherwise, I fear that there will always be the option for hospitals to take us for granted.”

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