Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) unveiled federal legislation providing “hero” pay to hospital workers on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Dr. Joseph J. Costa Honoring Essential Americans Risking Their Safety (HEARTS) Act is named after Dr. Costa, who ran the critical care unit at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center, treating COVID-19 patients before dying of the disease himself.

“From Day One of this pandemic, there have been heroic people like Dr. Costa running into the fire,” Ruppersberger said. “We must compensate those on the frontlines who are assuming extraordinary risk to themselves and their families to keep the rest of us safe and alive. We have all seen ads, speeches and social media posts thanking our brave health care workers ― my bill is a way of putting our money where our mouth is.”

The legislation covers hospital workers including doctors, nurses, specialists and non-medical staff such as custodians who work in close proximity to COVID-19 patients within federally-designated virus hotspots.