Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday that New York State and New York City will create a program to encourage health care professionals to travel to West Africa to treat Ebola patients.
According to a press release from de Blasio’s office the two will create a program of “financial incentives and other employment protections” to urge health care professionals to go to West Africa and provide treatment to Ebola patients.
“We believe that public health in West Africa and the public health in New York are interconnected and both must be addressed,” said Governor Cuomo. “The depth of the challenge we face in containing Ebola requires us to meet this test in a comprehensive manner on multiple fronts, and part of that is encouraging and incentivizing medical personnel to go to West Africa.”
“The brave and selfless doctors, nurses and health care workers who voluntary travel to hot zones in West Africa to combat Ebola are heroes, plain and simple, and we need their hard work, courage and sacrifice to protect all of us across the globe from this deadly virus,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We must also do more to encourage additional health care professionals to join this critical fight, and the partnership unveiled today will be instrumental in growing the ranks of these valiant doctors and nurses.”
De Blasio’s office says that the program will be modeled on benefits and rights given to military reservists. These workers would then have their pay, health care, and employment statuses continue when they return. Additionally, The State will also give “necessary reimbursements – to health care workers and their employers – for any quarantines that are needed upon their return to help protect public health and safety in New York.”
This announcement comes on the heels on the news that Dr. Craig Spencer, a medical professional associated with Doctors Without Borders, may have initially lied to city officials about quarantining himself when he first returned from Guinea after treating Ebola patients. Kaci Wilcox, a nurse who was first quarantined in Newark after returning from Sierra Leone, reportedly broke her quarantine in her home state of Maine.