At UT Southwestern, caregivers who are involved in COVID-19 patient care and would like to avoid their home can receive a $100 per night stipend to self-quarantine in a hotel.
If a caregiver is based in a hospital and directly caring for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, they can receive the allowance, though other workers can contact their supervisor to see if they qualify.
The move was in response to two factors, says Dr. John Warner, executive vice president for health system affairs at UTSW. Many staff members are worried about bringing the virus home to their families, some of whom may have suppressed immune systems, be elderly, or have another condition that makes them especially vulnerable to coronavirus.
Similar deals were cut in other cities with more of a COVID-19 presence, partly as a needed respite for staff who are working 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Rather than making a long drive home, they are able to crash in a hotel nearby.
This isn’t the first time UTSW has offered to put its staff in hotels. During past ice storms, the medical center made a similar offer to employees to keep them off icy roads and allow them to get back to work the next morning.
The program is still just a few days old, and Warner didn’t have any numbers on how many faculty are taking UTSW up on their offer, but he says there has been a lot of positive feedback and inquiries about who qualifies.
At ten hospitals near the medical center, hotels are offering negotiated discount rates to UT Southwestern employees. Many hotels are empty these days, so the discount is a way to help keep them in business as well. “The hotels have been all of terrific,” Warner says. “They are making it easy for healthcare workers.”