What We're Reading: Staffing Company Cuts Benefits; Pentagon Has Unsent Ventilators; Collecting COVID-19 Survivor Plasma

April 1, 2020

Alteon Health will be reducing benefits to doctors and nurses helping to fight coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); the Pentagon has 2000 ventilators it does not know where to send; blood donation centers will soon start collecting plasma from COVID-19 survivors.

Emergency Department Nurses, Doctors Will See Benefit Cuts

Citing lost revenue from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to ProPublica, medical staffing company Alteon Health and its parent company Frazier Healthcare Partners will be reducing salaries, time off, and retirement benefits for nurses and doctors on the front lines of the pandemic. Financial benefits that will be suspended include 401(k) matches and paid time off. With hospital budgets also being slashed, clinicians are decrying the 20% cuts to their salaries despite putting in more hours and making more sacrifices, such as being forced to stay away from their homes to protect their families. Meanwhile, Alteon’s chief executive officer Steve Holtzclaw says the cuts are necessary.

Where Should the Pentagon Send 2000 Ventilators?

The Pentagon is still waiting to hear from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and HHS on where it should send 2000 ventilators, reports CNN. Of the 2000 ventilators available, 1000 are ready immediately, according to Lt General Giovanni Tuck, the Pentagon’s top logistics official. There are also a purported 5 million N95 masks available, of which the Pentagon has shipped 1.5 million, with 500,000 more to be sent out soon. FEMA spokeswoman Lizzie Litzow says “ventilators are shipped to the states in the amount needed to manage the immediate crisis.”

COVID-19 Survivors Will Soon Be Able to Donate Their Plasma at Blood Centers

AABB, formerly the American Association of Blood Banks, yesterday issued guidance on how survivors of COVID-19 will be able to donate their plasma to help others fighting the disease, says Kaiser Health News. Still considered experimental, what is known as convalescent plasma therapy was used during the 1918 influenza pandemic and as a measles treatment in the 1930s. The AABB guidance recommends that blood collection centers coordinate their efforts with local health departments and hospitals in reaching out to recovered patients to donate.