Federal COVID Aid Dispute In Committee

A plan in Kansas to allocate $50 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to retention incentives for nurses and frontline workers has stalled because of top Republican legislators’ concerns about which hospitals would receive the money and how the funds would be spent.

The bipartisan pandemic response advisory task force delayed approving the proposal, and expects to meet again by early next week to consider a revised version of the plan.

The retention incentives would be capped at $13 an hour and $25,000 a year to comply with federal requirements.

Workers would need to have been hired at a hospital as of September to qualify for the retention pay.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman (RIKE-man) Jr. said the proposal wouldn’t give enough flexibility to hospital administrators to decide how to spend the funds.

Senate President Ty Masterson’s proposal to make hospitals with vaccine mandates ineligible for retention incentives failed on a 5-2 vote.