Medical groups are following the lead of other companies by asking their employees to stay home if they are feeling any symptoms related to the coronavirus. Yet if a doctor does have these symptoms, they can be required to quarantine themselves at their own expense.
Per the Daily Beast, a MEDNAX physician must use their sick leave or vacation time to quarantine themselves for 14 days. If a person doesn't have 14 days of vacation time or sick leave, then they have to "borrow" up to five days from future paid time off. Employes feel like this policy ties their hand—they either have to go into work sick and possibly risk infecting patients,, or use all their personal time to get healthy.
"People on the frontlines of this should be provided with all the resources that they need and all the support they need if they get sick," an unidentified MEDNAX employee told the Daily Beast. "The House has passed this bill that’s supposed to help waiters and waitresses, but here are the people on the front lines being told, 'You’re just shit out of luck.'"
MEDNAX also told employees their workers' compensation carrier would probably not cover any time/pay lost due to coronavirus exposure at work. They've instructed workers who miss more than three days to apply for protection benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Some employees took this as a sign that they would lose their jobs if they contracted the virus.
"Why would we have to apply for FMLA? Are you really going to fire me while I’m on a ventilator?" one worker asked.
MEDNAX isn't the only healthcare company to subject medical workers to use their personal time to quarantine. Physician group Envision Healthcare told employees on Thursday that anyone exposed to the virus through non-work-related activities should use all available PTO to self-quarantine. Once this PTO is depleted, the rest of their time in isolation will be unpaid.
"We’re all just bracing ourselves for that reality—especially if it’s our own coworkers on the ventilator, which could definitely happen," one healthcare worker in Salt Lake City said. "They’re gonna be the frontline workers constantly in those rooms, constantly exposed to everyone and they’re being treated like it’s their fault they’re getting sick."