Horizon implements PTO plan for employees volunteering for front lines of COVID-19 fight

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has announced its plan to offer expanded paid time off for health care workers that volunteer for Gov. Phil Murphy’s “Call to Serve” on the front lines of New Jersey’s fight against COVID-19.

The Newark-based insurer is offering those volunteers 40 hours of compensated volunteer time for their service.

Dr. Lisa LaCarrubba, a medical director at Horizon, is one of the 72 doctors, nurses and other health care workers that have answered the call.

“There are so many people in need,” she said. “Front-line workers in all fields are so important to keeping our country going. I have a skill that is needed specifically on the health care front line and I need to use that skill to help others. … Normally, I can do so much at Horizon to help our health care partners provide excellent care, but now I can help the most by being on that front line myself.”

Mary Jones is another one of the volunteers who signed up for the fight. A nurse from Cherry Hill, she has been working with Horizon for 18 years.

Jones expressed her desire to serve, saying: “I had been feeling like I needed to do something to assist. I believe it is my ethical, moral duty as an RN, and I think these values are inherent in Horizon’s values. I was greatly moved that this company I work for, and have come to love, is willing to extend more volunteer hours to serve this great state and the members we serve in it.”

Jones is currently making masks for other health care workers until the day she is deployed.

Executives from Horizon have expressed their support for their health care workers.

Gary St. Hilaire, Horizon’s new CEO and president, showed his support, saying: “New Jersey’s health care heroes are working around the clock on the front lines and under incredibly stressful conditions. The governor’s Call to Service recognizes the urgent need to support them, protect their well-being and provide relief to prevent burnout.”

Horizon has made other contributions to the fight against COVID-19, including a $2 million contribution to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and a $2.35 million donation of medical supplies.

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