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Local nurses, therapists and other qualifying medical personnel who worked through the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 can check their mailboxes or bank accounts on Friday, where they will find a $7,000 retention bonus that the Bryan administration has negotiated.
According to information obtained by the Consortium, the $7,000 will be received by these qualifying medical personnel tomorrow, and also in 2023 and 2024, with the funds being issued through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.
The territory received a total of $540 million from ARPA, of which less than a quarter had been spent as of July, Governor Albert Bryan said two months ago.
Local nurses have long complained that while they worked tirelessly through the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses hired from abroad through Pafford Medical Services were earning several times their wage, a reality that frustrated the local employees, many of whom had spoken to the Consortium about the matter. Some even considered leaving their local jobs to join Pafford, realizing that travel nurses hired through the company were earning $20,000 monthly, according to help wanted flyers from Pafford.
The bonus payment, which will be provided once through 2024 for a total of $21,000 for each of the qualifying employees, will be welcomed news to local medical personnel.
Additionally, these employees might be eligible to receive Premium Pay bonuses, though the Bryan administration was awaiting guidance from the U.S. Treasury on whether medical personnel receiving the $7,000 bonus would be eligible for the additional Premium Pay program. Even so, if Treasury rules against it, the $7,000 bonus being received by medical personnel for three years dwarfs the Premium Pay program's $2,000 onetime payment.