Torres Introduces Legislation Protecting Families of Fallen Front Line Workers
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (D-CA) this week introduced the Frontline Heroes Act, legislation that would create the COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Heroes Survivor and Disability Benefit Program. The program would provide survival benefits to the families of healthcare workers who die from COVID-19, and disability benefits to healthcare workers who are permanently disabled from COVID-19 related health complications.
The push comes after Rep. Torres led 76 fellow lawmakers in a letter last April calling for survivor benefits to be included in Congress’ next coronavirus relief package.
Rep. Torres released the following statement:
“Healthcare workers are risking their lives to combat coronavirus,” Rep. Torres said. “These heroes deserve the peace of mind of knowing that our society will look after them and their loved ones in case they are impacted by the disease. This is the very least we can do for the incredible people who face the horrors of COVID every day to care for the sick and protect the healthy. Every American is grateful for their sacrifices, and the Frontline Heroes Act is a way to show our appreciation and provide these heroes, and their families, some security as they tackle the greatest threat we’ve faced in generations.”
The Frontline Heroes Act is endorsed by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and American Nurses Association (ANA).
“The American Organization for Nursing Leadership strongly supports H.R. 8441, the Frontline Heroes Act, which recognizes the sacrifices of our health care workers on the frontline of this pandemic,” American Organization for Nursing Leadership CEO Robyn Begley, DNP, RN, said. “We encourage Congress to compensate our heroic caregivers and their families for any health care and other related costs associated with exposure to COVID-19 that are not otherwise covered, including death benefits for surviving family members. AONL applauds Representative Norma Torres (D-CA) for her leadership in introducing this legislation that values the contributions of every health care worker in the fight against this virus.”
“Though cases of COVID-19 are down in some areas of the country, many areas are facing a surge, and emergency physicians and other frontline health care workers continue to put their lives on the line as they fight the pandemic,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “Sadly, as some of our colleagues worked to save their patients’ lives, they sacrificed their own in the process. We mourn our colleagues in emergency medicine who’ve lost their lives to COVID-19. ACEP is grateful to Rep. Torres for her efforts that honor the sacrifice made by health care workers, and importantly, provide invaluable assistance to families of emergency physicians and other frontline health care workers who have been permanently disabled or died due to COVID-19.”
“The American Nurses Association is proud to support Rep. Norma Torres’s legislation, H.R. 8441, the Frontline Heroes Act,” said ANA President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The health, safety and wellness of nurses must be a priority. Nurses are working around the clock to care for patients, educate the public, and protect themselves and their families. In return, nurses, and their families, need to know they are protected. I thank Rep. Torres for her leadership on this important issue and I urge Congress to bring this legislation to the House floor immediately.”
The Frontline Heroes Act of 2020 is co-sponsored by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), Darren Soto (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Gilbert R. Cisneros (D-CA), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Terri A. Sewell (D-AL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and André Carson (D-IN).
A fact sheet on the Frontline Heroes Act is available here.