Ebola watch: Michigan health system sets policy to pay quarantined nurses

Nurses who work for the University of Michigan Health System will receive pay for time off if they are put in quarantine as a result of treating Ebola patients, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The policy may be the first nursing contract of its kind in the nation and a model for other hospitals to follow, according to the article. It states that quarantined nurses don't have to use sick time or vacation days and they must return to the same position they had once they are deemed free of the virus.

"It's a precedent how management and unions can cooperate to work to together to accomplish something in everybody's best interest--in patient care and the safety of the nursing staff," John Karebian, executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association, told the publication.

The approved contract was announced just as thousands of nurses in California went on a two-day strike this week to express concerns about patient care standards and Ebola. But the state hospital association says the nurses who work for Kaiser Permanente facilities are in the midst of contract negotiations and using Ebola as a tool, according to AOL.com.

"The fact is, the various reasons the union leaders are giving for walking out are not supported by the facts--either in our medical centers or at the bargaining table," Kaiser said in a statement, the publication reported.

Meanwhile, New York City was declared "Ebola free" after Craig Spencer, M.D., was released from Bellevue Hospital Center yesterday. Ram Raju, M.D., of New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, which oversees Bellevue, said Tuesday that New York remained calm about the deadly Ebola virus unlike other communities' reactions when three people in Texas contracted the illness.

"This is a vindication of this country's healthcare system. While some were fanning the flames of fear ... we in New York City were calmly preparing," he told NBC News.

In other related Ebola news, the family of the country's first victim to the virus, Thomas Eric Duncan, has reached a settlement with Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, according to the Washington Post.  The hospital didn't properly diagnose Duncan and sent him home with antibiotics, failing to realize he had Ebola until days later. He died Oct. 8 after exposing two nurses to the virus. They have since received treatment and are now Ebola-free.

To learn more:
- read the Detroit Free Press article
- check out aol.com's coverage
- here's the NBC News report
- read the Washington Post article

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