COVID-19 Medical Care Costs Eligible For FEMA Public Assistance

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Private nonprofit (“PNP”) organizations that own and/or operate medical facilities, such as hospitals and long term care facilities, are eligible for FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Program disaster relief funds.  Under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, FEMA is authorized to provide assistance for certain emergency protective measures if not funded by other federal agencies.  PNP healthcare organizations can apply for funding for emergency protective measures that are incurred as medical care costs.

Provided below is a sample of the types of medical care costs that PNP healthcare organizations may seek coverage for under the FEMA PA Program.  Such costs must be necessary in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, reasonable pursuant to federal regulations, and are subject to PA Program and federal eligibility requirements.

Inpatient and emergency medical care for confirmed and suspected cases

  • Emergency medical transport
  • Triage, testing, and medical treatment, including prescription costs, for the uninsured

Equipment and supplies

  • Medical equipment, such as ventilators
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Durable medical equipment (DME)
  • Consumable medical supplies

Labor Costs

  • Overtime for budgeted medical staff
  • Straight time and overtime for temporary medical staff
  • COVID-19 training for staff
  • Other costs for temporary medical staff, including travel, lodging, and per diems
  • Associated costs, like childcare, incurred on behalf of frontline workers

Expanded and Alternate Care Sites to treat COVID-19 patients, non-COVID-19 patients, or both, based on actual or projected need – g., drive through COVID-19 testing sites [may require prior approval of FEMA].

  • Lease, purchase, or construction costs
  • Operating costs, including equipment, supplies, staffing
  • Maintenance of a temporary or expanded medical facility in an operationally ready but unused status available for surge capacity

Wraparound services

  • Biomedical waste removal
  • Linen and laundry services
  • Food preparation and delivery
  • Perimeter fencing
  • Contracted security guards
  • Professional cleaning

Miscellaneous

  • Administrative costs – up to 5% of total grant
  • Communication to the community
  • Technical assistance for emergency management, public health, and safety

As noted above, FEMA cannot duplicate assistance provided by other federal sources, which include the following:

  • The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement Program
  • The Public Health Crisis Response Cooperative Agreement
  • The Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • The Hospital Preparedness Program Cooperative Agreement
  • The Regional Ebola and Other Special Pathogen Treatment Centers Cooperative Agreement
  • The National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center Cooperative Agreement
  • The Hospital Association COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Activities Cooperative Agreement
  • The Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Provider Relief Fund
  • The COVID-19 Uninsured Program
  • The Paycheck Protection Program

Because many providers are receiving CARES Act Provider Relief Funds and/or other federal assistance, it is important for PNP healthcare organizations to be strategic about how they allocate expenses to these programs to maximize their funding and ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Husch Blackwell’s experienced FEMA and healthcare attorneys can assist with allocating these expenses, understanding PA Program policies, and applying for funding.  Significantly, a portion of PA funds can be applied towards the administrative costs of applying for FEMA assistance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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