Kelly sponsors legislation to protect nation’s ‘healthcare heroes’ during pandemic

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) on July 9 introduced a bill that would amend the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to provide paid sick leave for healthcare providers and emergency responders.

Rep. Kelly sponsored the Essential Workforce Parity Act, H.R. 7538, to extend paid leave required by the FFCRA to healthcare workers and offer liability protections to hospitals and other medical providers from certain lawsuits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our doctors and nurses are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic risking their own health to treat the worst cases of COVID-19,” Rep. Kelly said. “The Essential Workforce Parity Act will guarantee that our healthcare heroes are treated fairly if they get sick while also ensuring their primary focus can be on helping patients, not fighting lawsuits.”

Currently, the FFCRA exempts hospitals and other healthcare facilities from the requirement to offer paid leave to healthcare workers during the pandemic.

If approved, H.R. 7538 would provide such leave to healthcare workers who contract COVID-19 and their associated costs would be eligible for reimbursement by the federal government under the FFCRA, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Kelly’s office.

The bill also would offer specific targeted legal protections to healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients, according to the summary.

The proposed measure has received support from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and the Health Coalition on Liability Access.