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MY VIEWS

Supporting federal workers

If the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, an estimated 800,000 Americans will miss their second paycheck this Friday. The hardship this creates on people is tremendous. 

We’re hearing story after story of federal workers struggling to put food on the table, pay rent and meet other financial obligations – a painful reminder of how quickly a sudden loss of income can render someone vulnerable.

True to our Mission and values, many caregivers have asked what Providence St. Joseph Health can do to support federal employees and their families during this difficult time. PSJH provides financial assistance and charity care for patients in times of financial hardship and continues to do so for those affected by the shutdown. Here are two specific ways that PSJH is offering some means of relief.

1. For impacted federal employees and their dependents who contact PSJH for assistance, we will offer a grace period to pay out-of-pocket medical costs, and we will suspend collection activities on outstanding balances.

2. Food banks and other not for profits have had an increase in clients due to the government shutdown. We are encouraging PSJH caregivers to sign up for service activities on our Volunteers in Partnership website to help meet immediate needs for affected families. We will continue to update the site with more opportunities throughout the shutdown. (A link to the volunteer site will be posted on this blog soon.) 

The spirit of volunteerism is part of the fabric of our Mission. I hope to see us turn out in force for these service activities. Together, we can help offer some measure of relief in this time of need.

In the meantime, please join me in thanking the federal workers in our communities for their service. Many continue to report to duty without pay, which is a testament to their professionalism and commitment to the safety, security and well-being of our nation. To all of our nation’s public servants, we owe you a debt of gratitude, and we salute you.

Rod Hochman
Rod Hochman, M.D.

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