Coronavirus First Responders
Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate
Forgive Student Loan Debt for Healthcare Providers Responding to COVID-19
We implore the United States Congress to pass legislation forgiving all remaining student debt for the heroes fighting to keep our country alive. Student debt is only one of the many burdens faced by those combating COVID-19 to save as many patients as possible, but it is one Congress has the power to ease. Healthcare workers are putting their lives and those of their families at risk on the front lines of the international COVID-19 crisis. As a group, nurses, attending physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and resident physicians are working in uncertain, understaffed, dangerous conditions. Some have been redeployed from their usual clinical duties, many without appropriate personal protective equipment and other supplies. We have been seeing stories of healthcare workers separated from family, depressed, anxious, working extended hours, sick, and dying. On 3/24/2020 a nurse from New York passed away from complications of COVID-19, likely contracted while working with patients, and there are more to come. The mounting pile of student debt is an enormous weight carried by these workers, especially those who attended college and graduate school for 8+ years. For instance the average medical school graduate’s debt load now exceeds $200,000 (Source: National Center for Education Statistics). The recently enacted CARES Act mandating a six-month freeze on interest and the option to take a break from payments on federal student loans is helpful, but does not go far enough to give assistance to those providing direct care during this pandemic. Let’s show our support as a nation by easing the financial burden - allowing them to afford housing away from family, care for their children while they are working, medical care including mental health services, and relief from the many other extraordinary, intangible costs of providing on the front lines during this time. Thank you for considering supporting this bill. Your constituents, those benefiting from the thankless work done by these healthcare workers every day, want to see this debt forgiven.
Petition to U.S. House of Representatives
Get ventilators to the 10 African countries that don’t have
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have the ability to take stride in fending it off. 10 countries in Africa, that do have cases of the Corona Virus, don’t have this opportunity. They lack one of the most basic supplies, ventilators. Since the virus has airborne transmission, this ventilation measure could have drastic effects of limiting the spread. “On April 1, Nigeria’s finance ministry appealed to Elon Musk on Twitter — before deleting its message — admitting that Africa’s most populous nation needed support and asking for at least 100. Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire, says he is donating 500 to the continent.”-New York Times
Petition to the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB),
Grandfathered US in, to meet the demands for the current need of Social Workers.
This petition is asking that the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), consider the pandemic as a catastrophic event this is not about avoiding getting sick, this is about stabilizing the minds of millions who has been impacted by the pandemic. Due to the current state of emergency the ASWB should allow or put in place the grandfather clause to address the growing demand of Social Worker's, who has met the following requirements: 100 hours of Supervision, 36 months field experience and 3,000 contact hours before the pandemic and for anyone who has taken the LMSW passed or failed at least once, that also should include other mental health practitioners in the field. The urgency is relevant and the need is real. This will reduce the backlog for testing sites, as the need for MSW, LMSW and LCSW’s will grow expeditiously in the next few months or years to come. As the bar and doctors are graduating early and the bar is possibly moving forward towards a unique licensing option, why not consider this for MSW’s and LMSW’s. As our communities, children and families are experiencing an insurmountable and overwhelming amount of loss not just businesses but, love ones, the thought of being isolated from their love ones and bargaining with the idea of, “is this real?” We are walking and working our client’s, ourselves and our families through catastrophic grief, “this is very real.” Social distancing is becoming more isolative because the businesses that once provided comfort to others are closing and causing people who live alone to feel more lonely. Once the air is clear agoraphobia and other related anxieties will form, a sense of fear of others, fear of going outside and it may trigger violence out of fear. This does not include individual’s with a previous diagnosis this will include even us as mental health professionals and other health care professionals. The grief is real and relevant and we will need to be there to help our communities recover and or at lease feel a sense of normalcy again. Please consider to expand the need to MSW's and LMSW's, throughout all states who are being impacted. We are asking the ASWB to respond to the petition with 45 calendar days. Peace, love and light to all stay safe!
Petition to Charles E. Schumer, New York State Senate, New York Governor, U.S. Senate, Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio
Change requirements to get more nurses licensed
The field of nursing is severely understaffed. Many times one nurse is performing the tasks of two or three nurses. As Governor Cuomo stated; now more than ever more nurses are needed to help battle this growing pandemic. There are many of us who would like to be on the front lines helping to serve both our medical and home communities but cannot due to entrance exams being cancelled, small over competitive nursing programs, and nursing clinicals being cancelled. I’d like to petition for the removal of entrance exams into nursing programs, increasing the size of nursing programs and the amount of students accepted, and excellerate the restart of nursing programs. While this may not directly help in this pandemic it does assure that many more nurses will enter the workforce, be trained and able to assist in the near future.
Petition to Florida Governor, Donald J. Trump, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Donna E. Shalala, Carlos A. Gimenez, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
MASS TESTING for Covid before any orders for social distancing are relaxed!
Experts are unanimously and universally recommending MASS TESTING of the population for the COVID 19 virus as a prerequisite to "restarting" the economy or relaxing social distancing orders. The US is testing at a rate of less than 3.2 per thousand, in eleventh place among industrial nations. This is unacceptable, as mass testing is the only way to isolate the COVID 19 virus in our communities and slow its spread considerably. Social distancing alone, without testing, is just a momentary pause (at considerable expense both socially and economically); but premature loosening measures will be counterproductive, and will only result in further harm to the population and economy. The people demand that our local, state and federal leaders commence a massive project (with the help of private industry and capital) for universal testing across the country before any relaxation of standards are considered. Time is of the essence. The people are living in a state of permanent anxiety and it doesn't help when we see the lack of coordination across the spectrum to tackle this severe health crisis. People are dying and suffering unnecessarily while we spend valuable time bickering about the details. There will be time for that AFTER we defeat this pandemic. The urgent and most consequential action to be taken right now is MASS TESTING - let's get it done!
Petition to Bill Dodd, Gavin Newsom, DIane Feinstein, Kamala D. Harris, Mike Thompson
Armer Law; They take care of us. We need to take care of them.
Santa Rosa Police Detective Marylou Armer was denied COVID19 testing twice before she went into the emergency room, was put into a coma and died alone. Armer spent two weeks with a fever, aching body and shortness of breath. Armer asked twice to be tested for COVID-19. Armer was denied by Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Center. She was not considered vulnerable because of her age and no underlying medical conditions. Armer was finally cleared to be tested on March 23, when her husband brought her to the emergency room. She was sedated, intubated, and placed in a medically induced coma. She died on March 31. Armer was with the Santa Rosa Police Department for 20 years and her death is devastating to all who worked with her to help victims of crimes that include domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, child abuse and elder abuse. But this is not an isolated incident. There have been several first responder deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the past few weeks – and there will be more. To date more than 20 law enforcement personnel alone, as well as nurses, doctors and firefighters have died from COVID 19. Athletes and Celebrities, and those with money at their disposal have been getting tested when they have no symptoms. Marylou knew something was wrong and was denied access to healthcare that may have saved her life. "Armer Law" would allow that during any epidemic or pandemic, first responders which include but are not limited to; law enforcement, social workers, healthcare, and EMS workers, can NOT be denied testing, and should automatically be approved at the first sign of symptoms. They are on the front lines, entering people’s homes and having to make physical contact with the public, and they have the highest risk of exposure. Also provided would be regular, continued testing if necessary, and treatment covered by worker’s compensation, not sick leave. This death was preventable. Our first responders take care of us, it is time to take care of them.
Petition to Dr. Mase, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Jim Wood, Mike McGuire, Gavin Newsom
Need for Appropriate PPE Provision for Sonoma County Health Workers
In Sonoma County, we have successfully flattened the curve to help our health care systems better prepare to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Kudos to the County leadership and populace for this success! HOWEVER, the risks of the pandemic are still very real for our community, and our health workers (doctors, nurses, CNAs, environmental services, techs, nutritional services, etc) need additional support in advocating for increased availability and usage of appropriate PPE. Without sufficient PPE, the lives of healthcare workers are at greater risk, and the crisis will be prolonged. To increase the chance to return to 'normal,' we must ensure their safety. The impact of the projected COVID-19 surge in Sonoma Country is expected to be very manageable by our current health care systems. We need to act to make the impact even less! Many of our health care systems are operating under the policies of resource scarcity--with the concern that if we use appropriate PPE, we will run out--an approach that is supported by inadequate CDC guidelines. For example, most prominently, Kaiser SR Hospital is not providing N95 masks for staff taking care of COVID+ patients and Patients Under Investigation (PUIs). More lax PPE policies save the health system money, but increase the risks to health workers, and increases the risk that WE become significant vectors in our community. We need to demand even more conservative PPE policies to provide MORE protection to our staff. Please note that some institutions are doing a better job than others. We need consistency and a set high standard of care. As health care professionals in Sonoma County, we have reached out to ask that the Public Health Officer, Dr. Mase, release a Public Health Order that requires all healthcare facilities in Sonoma County to follow the Stanford University Protocol or Cal/OSHA recommendations to better protect our frontline healthcare workers. We ask that the Public Health Department hold all healthcare facilities accountable to caring for our community, regardless of the higher-level policies created by their behemoth, multi-state health organizations. We ask that our state and local representatives fight to make sure our health care professionals are protected. And finally, we ask that you, readers, hold each of the above parties accountable to protecting the health professional heroes in Sonoma County, which by extension, enhances the protection of each of you. For healthcare professionals, please sign with your discipline. For general public, please sign and note your healthcare organizations you go to as a patient. Thanks!
Petition to Andrew M. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Phil Murphy
Safeguard the Right of All Laboring People to Have Support During COVID-19 Crisis
On March 21, the NYS Department of Health issued clear guidelines on treating patients in labor during the COVID-19 crisis. These guidelines determined a support person, whether a spouse, partner or other chosen person, is essential to care for the patient during labor, delivery and in the postpartum period. The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees. We agree. As of March 26, all New York Presbyterian and Mount Sinai affiliated hospitals, and Staten Island University Hospital in the New York City area will act against WHO, CDC and DOH guidance and ban all support people--including spouses--from Labor & Delivery and Postpartum units. This means people in labor will give birth alone and parent alone. Parents will miss the birth of their child. Fundamentally, risks for the people laboring alone will increase substantially. Not only can partners and spouses provide physical and emotional comfort during labor and postpartum, they are also essential in alerting staff when something has gone wrong and the laboring patient cannot notify nurses themselves, like in the event of an eclamptic seizure or a fainting episode. Timing is critical in these cases and monitors can be unreliable. We cannot expect nursing staff, already spread thin, to spend the limitless hours needed with each patient to ensure their health and their baby's health, to provide physical assistance and emotional support. We know the hospital system is overwhelmed in this crisis. However, the burden will only be increased by banning support people from Labor & Delivery. We must ensure no one gives birth alone. We must ensure the maternal mortality rate does not increase during this time.