Phoenix-area healthcare worker says nurses working while uninsured during COVID-19 | Coronavirus in Arizona

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — It is laborious to think about a healthcare employee placing themselves and their households in danger on this pandemic being uninsured. Many individuals assume their employers have them coated. Our frontline employees have advantages to guard them ought to they get sick after being uncovered to COVID-19, proper? Not precisely.

We talked with a Valley touring nurse who says, sadly, it is somewhat widespread for healthcare suppliers, particularly in her specialty, not having medical health insurance themselves.

Joanna Fakhouri with her grandma

Joanna Fakhouri’s been a nurse for eight and a half years.

Proper now, she’s deployed as a volunteer for Arizona’s COVID-19 surge on a contract the place she says she wasn’t supplied any advantages and says the choices for out-of-pocket personal insurance coverage deductibles are unreasonably costly.

Final month, she responded to the state’s name for extra medical doctors and nurses to assist with Arizona’s statewide surge by signing up via the “Arizona Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals.”

“We go away our households and received to wherever they need assistance. Mainly, you pack up, you permit house, and also you go someplace for 13 weeks,” Fakhouri stated.

“Most of us are volunteers. Some are getting paid, some usually are not,” Fakhouri stated.

She’s now 5 weeks into her deployment in Prescott, the place she says she’s uncovered to COVID-19 sufferers each shift.

“I am undoubtedly afraid to deliver it house to my dad and mom,” Fakhouri stated.

Her dad and mom stay along with her, and each of them have pre-existing medical situations. And whereas she would not, she is frightened concerning the danger.

For her final project serving to with the COVID surge in California, she self- quarantined from April to June, staying away from household and pals for Mom’s Day, her mother’s birthday, and her birthday.

“To me, it is like, properly, if we’re coming that will help you regardless when you’re paying us or volunteering, I do suppose we must always have some type of protection, whether or not it is from the hospital or from the state,” Fakhouri stated.

As a touring nurse, most contracts do not include medical health insurance advantages, and in the event that they do, Fakhouri loses protection with every new project.

“I believe the primary query is, ‘Hey! The place do you guys get your insurance coverage from? As a result of we have no,” Fakhouri stated.

Proper now, quite a lot of her pay goes towards renting a spot up north for her project whereas she maintains her mortgage within the Valley.

“I’ve no drawback paying a good premium. It is the deductibles that we’re coming throughout, like $5,000- $6,000,” Fakhouri stated.

Fakhouri shared a submit in a Fb group for nurses saying: 

Simply did and interview about not having insurance coverage working in healthcare. I advised her so many people are touring for work and never having it. What number of of you do not, particularly throughout this disaster?

Joanna Fakhouri's Facebook post

She received an amazing response from different uninsured healthcare employees in the identical boat saying:

I have not since I have been touring for 3 years.

I’m at the moment uninsured whereas touring. It is so costly for a household of 4!

I haven’t got insurance coverage proper now… via my company it is over $800 a month and a (expletive deleted) coverage at that!

Businesses do supply insurance coverage… however as a single mother of two… it is somewhat expensive! So… alas… we do not have insurance coverage.

I did not for a 12 months and a half. And I prayed on a regular basis that nothing would occur.

None right here. Too freaking costly.

I do not. Cannot afford it. If I get sick or injured I am simply going to die.

I do not. Cannot afford it. I pay a (nurse practitioner) $75 to put in writing my prescriptions for me.

And the listing goes on.

Fakhouri says she remains to be actively on the lookout for a healthcare plan. She says she paid $4,000 out of pocket for ortho appointments when she broke her leg and hand tripping over a tree root two years in the past.

Whereas hospitals cannot deny care to the uninsured, and anybody will pay out of pocket to get personal medical health insurance, Fakhouri and different nurses say the costs are unreasonable.

“Nurses will all the time simply soar into something to assist anybody, regardless of our cons for us, , what’s working towards us,” Fakhouri stated.

We reached out to the state Division of Well being Companies to see how lots of the nurses who volunteered to assist w the COVID-19 surge are uninsured, they usually could not give us precise numbers. They inform us there are at the moment greater than 5,000 medical volunteers registered within the surge, and we have had greater than 20 COVID-19 medical missions using greater than 500 responders who’re supplied advantages based mostly on the project.

Finally examine, Fakhouri stated of the 268 nurses who replied to her Fb submit, 160 stated they had been uninsured.

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