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State of California Launches Skilled Nursing Facility Hero Awards Program in Response to COVID-19

Graphic with Red Background that says Skilled Nursing Facility Hero Awards

Skilled Nursing Facility Workers Can Apply for $500 Stipends#

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         Contact: Andrew DiLuccia
April 14, 2020                                                              Andrew.DiLuccia@oshpd.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) announced the launch of the Skilled Nursing Facility Hero Awards, a one-time $500 stipend for licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and certified nurse assistants (CNAs) that are currently working in a skilled nursing facility.

The stipends, which will be provided to the first 50,000 qualified applicants, are made possible thanks to a $25 million financial donation from Facebook. LVNs and CNAs may sign-up online at Heroawards.oshpd.ca.gov

“Today we salute the frontline healthcare workers who are taking care of our state’s most vulnerable residents in response to COVID-19,” said OSHPD Acting Director Marko Mijic. “To show our appreciation for those efforts, the State of California and our partners at Facebook are providing $500 stipends to help with the financial responsibilities they face as they work to provide care for our older Californians, as well as their own families.”

“We’re grateful for all the incredible work California’s critical staff in nursing facilities are doing to save lives and help combat COVID-19. They’re on the front lines every day selflessly helping others, and we hope these stipends will help cover some of their expenses so they can focus on their critical work.” Said Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

To further protect vulnerable Californians, California is:

  • Retraining 600 nurses to support facility compliance with COVID-19 guidance and to assist facilities with positive cases;
  • Working to decompress facilities to help slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in these facilities and create facilities specifically for positive patients;
  • Reaching out proactively to each skilled nursing facility on a daily basis to assess their specific needs and identify and address any challenges early on;
  • Prioritizing testing for patients discharged from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility to ensure patients who test positive are transferred to a facility that can safely provide care to the residents and also protect COVID-19 negative residents. California will also prioritize the testing of symptomatic residents and potentially exposed residents to ensure they are immediately isolated;
  • Prioritizing personal protective equipment to facilities with COVID-19 positive staff or residents and facilities that are at increased risk to COVID-19;  
  • Offering no-cost or low-cost hotel rooms for workers who have had possible exposure to COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 and do not need to be hospitalized; and
  • Ensuring that families of nursing home residents are informed and educated on COVID-19 safety protections for their loved ones.

Learn more about the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here. Visit covid19.ca.gov for critical steps Californians can take to stay healthy, and resources available to those impacted by the outbreak.

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