ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Earlier this month, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a bonus program consisting of $1 billion in the state budget.

Those bonuses will ultimately be given to qualified health care workers who worked during much of the pandemic. However, many in private practices are learning they will not be compensated.

News 8 spoke with two local nurses, of the same private physician’s office, who say they were looking forward to the reimbursements.

That is, until they filled out paperwork and were eventually told they aren’t included.

Moriah Gerhard and Sarah Mayo spent the pandemic together treating patients at a local private practice.

Nearly one month ago, Gov. Hochul earmarked a billion-dollar section of the state budget as a bonus program for eligible health care workers.

To the nurses’ surprise, they won’t be making the cut.

We were open during COVID. We were short-staffed during COVID, and still are short-staffed just like the hospitals are,” Gerhard said.

Gerhard says employees were notified by human resources that private medical and dental practices were excluded, leaving some of those workers wondering why.

When it was announced it was approved, it didn’t specify that private offices were not included. We worked through it the entire time,” said Mayo, “I felt hurt. I felt we were forgotten.”

Gov. Hochul said the purpose of the program was to reward, recruit and retain those in the healthcare industry, with a goal to increase the workforce by 20% over five years. 

However, some say they feel left out. 

“We sign up to be a nurse to help others. That’s what we do. But, this is something like a ‘Thank you, thank you for helping us.’ This is something we looked forward to helping our families,” said Mayo.

The maximum amount a qualified employee could receive is up to $3,000 over two vesting periods.

Those dates begin starting in October of last year.

Those we heard from say they are hoping for a correction by the state.

The state did release a New York State HWB Home Page Monday with more information. For a complete list of eligible workers, visit the state department of health’s website.