The members of the New York congressional delegation have sent a letter to FEMA asking the agency to pay up for COVID-related costs to the state’s hospitals.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Reps. Ritchie Torres, who represents the Bronx, and John Katko, a Republican from Syracuse lead the lawmakers in calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make good on President Biden’s promises after months of delay.
“You are acutely aware of the impact COVID-19 had on New York City and other communities across the state in 2020 and the accompanying financial costs,” 29 lawmakers wrote FEMA head Deanee Criswell, who ran the city’s Emergency Management Office through the start of the pandemic.
“Hospitals and other health care providers were forced to rapidly adjust their patient care operations at great expense,” the lawmakers added.
The lawmakers believe the bill to come to more than $1 billion — the cost of COVID-related reimbursements for New York City’s 11 public hospitals alone.
The lawmakers added that FEMA should make several procedural changes to ensure that state hospitals and other health care facilities get reimbursed.
They added that FEMA should also reduce the “significant up-front documentation burden” and expand costs eligible for reimbursement.
“We appreciate FEMA’s continued pandemic response efforts,” the lawmakers said.
“However, ongoing delays in FEMA funding for expenses incurred in prior patient waves inhibits hospitals’ abilities to address current challenges and the continued impact of the pandemic,” the lawmakers added.
In 2021, local leaders secured about $1 billion for city hospitals after the Biden administration initially tried to cover just $260 million in expenses.