Essential Worker Health Care Fund- COVID-19

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle June 28 2022 6:10 pm
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Essential Worker Health Care Fund- COVID-19

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle June 28 2022 6:10 pm
Essential  Worker Health Care Fund- COVID-19

The Essential Worker Health Care Fund involves collaboration between the Kansas Department of Health and Environment  (KDHE) as the lead entity, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), the Kansas Department for Aging and  Disability Services (KDADS), and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund (KCCTF). KDHE’s Special Health Care Needs  (SHCN) program will oversee the funds and process applications.  Applications will be available online and include a release of information to verify health status and allow sharing of information related to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.  Seek the help of a Personal Injury lawyer in Kansas to know more about health care funds.

Health Care Assistance for Early Childhood Professionals and  Other Essential Workers 

TOPEKA — Governor Laura Kelly, along with multiple state agencies, announced today a collaborative effort to allocate $8  million in federal funds Kansas received under the Coronavirus  Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cover health care expenses for early childhood professionals and other essential workers who contracted COVID-19. 

“The dedication and selflessness displayed by Kansas essential workers have been critical to our recovery efforts across the state in cities big and small and rural communities,” Governor Laura  Kelly said. “They risk their health each and every day to help  others and these funds make it possible for the state of Kansas to  help cover expenses in the unfortunate cases when they contract  COVID-19.”

fund for workers

Essential Worker Health Care Fund – Hero Relief Program

DCF’s “Hero Relief Program”  will be the public-facing marketing and communications platform for the fund. The “Health Care Assistance” portal of the site went live on August 24, so Kansans can start applying. 

Assistance will be available to essential workers in positions/fields  including but not limited to: 

• Health Care and Emergency Services 

• First Responder 

• LTSS – Long-term Services and Supports  

• Agriculture & Food Production 

• Food Service 

Transportation and Logistics Services 

• Building, Construction, and Trades 

• Manufacturing and Chemicals 

• Energy, Water and Utilities 

• Custodial and Waste Services 

• Election  

• Government Worker (Federal, State, Local/City) • Education 

• Military  

• Licensed Child Care 

• Frontline Behavioral Health & Social Services 

Home Visiting (local programs serving families with children  birth to 5 years) 

In order to be considered, individuals must have a COVID-19  positive diagnosis and verify essential worker status.  

Assistance will be limited to qualifying medical expense payout of  $25,000 for uninsured individuals (no health care coverage) and  $15,000 for insured individuals (coinsurance/copays and deductibles). 

Essential Worker Health Care Fund for the Workers in the Front Lines of the Pandemic

“In these challenging and uncertain times, the thing we all hold fastest to is our health,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “It’s time to  show our gratitude and compassion to the workers and the families  who need it most right now and who show their compassion for all  of us every day.”  

In alignment with the Strengthening People and Revitalizing  Kansas (SPARK) Committee’s goal of providing vulnerable populations with access to health services, KDADS, KDHE, DCF,  and the KCCTF recommended the creation of a COVID-19 health care expenses relief fund for critical infrastructure and essential workers who contracted COVID-19.  

These workers are on the front lines of the pandemic, providing critical services that enable many Kansans to stay safe at home.  Applicants must provide proof of employment as a qualifying essential worker during the pandemic.  

The SPARK Taskforce is charged with leading Kansas forward in recovery from the far-reaching effects of COVID-19. The SPARK  Executive and Steering Committees, in conjunction with the Office of Recovery team, are responsible for the statewide distribution of CARES Act funding.  

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends basic steps every employer can take to reduce the risk of worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in their workplace. They include: 

Developing an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan

If a plan does not already exist, employers should develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan that will help guide protective actions against COVID-19. 

Plans should address and consider the level(s) of risk that are associated with different worksites and job tasks that workers perform at those sites. The considerations could include the following:

  • What sources of SARS-CoV-2 workers could be exposed to, as well as where and how they could be exposed, including the general public, coworkers, clients, or other sick individuals or those at particularly high risk of infection.
  • Non-occupational risk factors both at home and in community settings.
  • Workers’ individual risk factors such as older age, chronic medical conditions, or pregnancy.
  • Controls are necessary to address these risks.
Recommendations About the Development of Contingency Plans

Make sure to adhere to federal and state, local, tribal, and/or territorial (SLTT) recommendations about the development of contingency plans for situations that could arise because of outbreaks, such as:

  • Increased worker absenteeism rates.
  • Greater need for delivering services remotely, social distancing, downsizing operations, staggered work shifts, and other exposure-reduction measures.
  • Options for performing essential operations with a reduced workforce, including cross-training workers for different jobs to continue operations or deliver surge services.
  • Interrupted supply chains or delayed deliveries.

Portrait of happy medical team standing in hospital lobby.

Preparing Implementation of Basic Infection Prevention Measures

For many employers, protecting workers depends on emphasizing the most basic of infection prevention measures. All employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices that may include: 

  • Promote frequent and thorough washing of hands, including practices that provide workers and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. When soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Tell your workers to stay home when they are sick.
  • Encourage proper respiratory etiquettes, such as covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Provide your customers and the general public with tissues and trash receptacles.
  • Employers should explore whether they are able to establish policies and practices, including flexible worksites (telecommuting) or flexible work hours (staggered shifts) to increase physical distance among and between employees and others when state and local health authorities recommend social distancing strategies.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ equipment, when possible.
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, such as routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment. When selecting cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims will be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder-to-kill viruses. Follow a manufacturer’s instructions for the use of all cleaning and disinfection products.

Developing Policies and Procedures for Prompt Identification and Isolation of Sick People, When Appropriate

  • Prompt identification and isolation of any potentially infectious individuals will be a crucial step in protecting workers, visitors, and others.
  • Workers should try to inform and encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 when they suspect any possible exposure.
  • Employers should try to develop certain policies and procedures for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • When it is appropriate, employers should try to develop policies and procedures for immediately isolating individuals who have signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 and also train workers to implement them. Move any potentially infectious people to locations away from customers, workers, and other visitors. While many worksites do not have specific isolation rooms, designated areas with closable doors may serve as isolation rooms until any potentially sick individuals can be removed from a worksite. 
  • Try to take steps to limit the spread of respiratory secretions of any person who might have COVID-19. Provide a face mask, when feasible and available, and ask the person to wear it3. 
  • If it is possible, isolate people suspected of having COVID-19 separately from those with confirmed cases of the virus to prevent further transmission—particularly in worksites where medical screening, triage, or healthcare activities occur, using either permanent (wall or different room) or temporary barrier (plastic sheeting).
  • Restrict personnel from entering isolation areas.
  • Protect workers who are in close contact with someone who is sick by implementing PPE standards, administrative controls, and additional practices. 

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Guide You

At Pyle Law, we have a lawyer who is not only experienced and skilled, but our lawyer also empathizes with the clients because he cares and is determined to find a solution for their complex problems. This includes standing up for the rights of those who contract COVID-19 from work. Contact our office today for a free consultation.

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E. THOMAS PYLE

Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.