The Hidden Cost of COVID-19 Impact on Healthcare Heroes' Finances

DURHAM, N.C., Feb. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- One in three people working in health care report their financial security has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new poll conducted by the HERO Registry, a nationwide community of healthcare workers created to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the front line.

"It's been widely reported how healthcare workers have experienced great stress as a result of the pandemic. Less examined is how COVID-19 has impacted their financial situations," said Emily O'Brien, PhD, principal investigator of the HERO Registry and Associate Professor and member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. "Recent impacts on financial security on our frontline healthcare workers are hidden costs that are a part of the larger environment of stresses depleting these important caregivers."

More than 2,000 healthcare workers responded to the HERO Registry Financial Impact survey, which was conducted in January. They survey found that, compared with pre-pandemic:

  • 34.3% reported being more worried about meeting financial obligations
  • 22.3% reported reduced income
  • 17.9% reported reduced work hours
  • 9.1% reported furlough or forced leave of absence

Reduced income was most commonly reported among physicians (31%), health technologists/technicians (22.6%), physician assistants/nurse practitioners (21.5%), and paramedics/emergency medical technicians (21%).

The stories of healthcare workers suffering from financial insecurity ranged from having to leave their jobs to care for their families to having to handle the unexpected loss of a family member's job. Others incurred unexpected costs associated with being sick from COVID-19.

Additional changes in financial situations as reported by HERO Registry members include:

  • Changes in retirement and health benefits
  • Modifications in how overtime pay is allocated
  • Unexpected childcare costs
  • The rising costs of housing

Said one survey respondent: "In these unpredictable times, I think that loss of income is at the top of everyone's concerns. It is telling that hospital workers are losing their jobs, and the fact that they are being laid off from an industry that is always working them short staffed, even in a pandemic, makes an interesting new, unexplored reality. Is money more important than helping people? The financial impact from Covid-19 doesn't reflect the constant concern for the potential for financial impact."

The HERO Registry is a community of more than 20,000 people working in health care who share what it is like to work and live during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Registry is open to all people working or affiliated with healthcare settings. The HERO Registry leverages PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, and is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

To learn more about the HERO Registry, visit

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Kaitlin Jansen
DCRI, Media Relations

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SOURCE Duke Clinical Research Institute

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