Arkansas bonus plan for health workers during pandemic OK’d

FILE - In this March 23, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, speaks in Little Rock Ark. Gov. Hutchinson is resisting issuing a broad stay-at-home order to curb the coronavirus outbreak, even as the state's cases continue to increase. Health officials on Thursday, March 2, 2020, said the number of coronavirus cases in the state had risen to at least 643, with two additional deaths. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The federal government has approved Arkansas’ plan to use Medicaid funds to pay bonuses to health workers at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the bonuses Wednesday as health officials said the number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas had increased to at least 1,569. The total number of deaths in the state from the virus has risen by one to 33. Officials says more than 26,000 non-physician direct-care workers at the facilities will be eligible for the payments, including registered nurses and home health aides.

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