It goes without saying that the novel coronavirus is having a big impact on travel healthcare professionals. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in many parts of America, scores of healthcare travelers have headed to the front lines.
Many hospitals have been relying on nurses, medical scribes, therapists, and other travel healthcare workers to help care for an overwhelming surge of coronavirus affected patients. Yet a number of travel workers have been surprised to actually see their contract canceled due to the pandemic.
While this may seem counterintuitive, some medical specialties and procedures commonly handled by traveling healthcare workers are now in fewer demand thanks to COVID-19.
For example, due to facility closures and hospitals limiting non-urgent care in hopes of stopping the spread of the virus, travel workers in areas such as surgery may see assignments canceled. In addition, hospitals that initially hired large surpluses of travel pros in anticipation of the virus may let them go if the patient numbers are lower than anticipated.
Chances are, you didn’t expect to be dealing with canceled contracts with a global pandemic raging, so here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in this position:
Check Your Contract
All travel contracts include a clause about cancellations, whether that’s specifying how an assignment has to be canceled legally, or what financial costs you can recoup from the assignment. Check your contract carefully for what it stipulates you’re owed, especially for reimbursement for travel to and from the job, any expenses incurred along the way, and costs such as housing deposits or associated fees.
Give Your Recruiter a Head’s Up
Before you pack up and leave town, talk to your recruiter about any other options that may be available in the area. Just be sure to double-check that your license and housing will still be valid if you’re someplace that has an emergency declaration before you sign on. There’s a chance that if your assignment lasts longer than the emergency declaration, any temporary license you have may not be valid once the emergency is lifted.
Stay Local with a Free Hotel
If you traveled to a hot-spot to go to work, only to have your contract canceled, you may be able to find free housing while you either wait to see if more work will shake loose or figure out your next move. Check with your recruiter about any free resources including housing and hotel options that are providing free rooms for healthcare workers.
If your contract was canceled due to COVID-19, be sure to document everything, keep receipts, and even print out any emails or communication you had with your recruiter. Since you’re a contract employee, you may be able to claim lost wages or expenses on your taxes in 2021 but be sure to consult with a tax expert prior to filing.
See if You Qualify for Unemployment Benefits
If your travel gig has been canceled, try to apply for unemployment benefits. Check your state’s unemployment website for guidelines on who qualifies, and how to apply. Just be prepared for potential longer wait times, as many unemployment agencies around the country have been overwhelmed by applicants.
At Focus Staff we understand the ins and outs of traveling healthcare professionals during these challenging times and have access to a wide variety of excellent professional opportunities. To learn more, contact us today.