Local officials, Bronx hospital staff demand FEMA reimbursements for pandemic expenses
Local Democratic lawmakers and staff at a Bronx hospital are demanding FEMA reimbursements for pandemic related expenses.
Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Ritchie Torres gathered at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln with hospital staff to urge FEMA to fulfill its end of the bargain.
They say the city's hospital system has spent nearly $1 billion so far on the pandemic, and officials have been waiting on the government funds since October. They say all the expenses fall in line with FEMA’s COVID-19 reimbursement policy.
Back on July 9, Torres sent a letter to FEMA's administrator Deanna Criswell detailing how overwhelmed the hospitals and staff were throughout the pandemic as the hospitals expanded services and treated all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
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The funds would cover staffing, equipment, and patient care efforts necessary during the surge of cases in New York City.
So far, Torres says they have only received $266 million. In his letter, Torres claims FEMA is denying the reimbursements because they don't believe all of the expenses like hospital expansions were fully pandemic related.
As of Thursday, Torres said he had not heard back from FEMA. That's why lawmakers will be meeting at Lincoln Hospital at 1 p.m. Friday with hopes of capturing FEMA's attention.