Sen. Schumer and US Rep Torres Persuade FEMA to Reimburse $1.19 Billion To NYC H + H

Sen. Schumer and US Rep Torres Persuade FEMA to Reimburse $1.19 Billion To NYC H + H

By Yehudit Garmaise 

Sen. Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), who said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was “slow in reimbursing” NYC Health + Hospitals “for all the work they did fighting COVID,” now will be providing H + H with a well-deserved $1.19 billion that the hospitals filed for back in 2020.

Mayor Eric Adams explained that in its relentless fight against COVID, H + H has spent $2.2 billion, however FEMA had been playing “a bureaucratic game,” to forestall reimbursement.

“FEMA came up with some crazy rules, such as one that said, ‘Well if you build a new building, we will reimburse you, but if you used your existing buildings, we are not going to reimburse you,'” said Sen. Schumer, who, along with US Rep Ritchie Torres (D), who represents New York's 15th congressional district, “led the charge to call FEMA, and shake them up.

“We heard just two days ago that they are going to send New York City the full $1.19 billion. We leaned on them, and the money is here, and we need it.”

Thankfully, Omicron is less deadly that past waves were, and the hospitals are doing great jobs at handling the surge, Sen. Schumer said, however the new variant is also causing many unforeseen costs for the city: at the expense of other agencies.

The new variant “has cost New York City’s public hospitals another $111 million, and that is going to go up,” said Sen. Schumer about the latest bill the city has sent to FEMA, which has yet to reimburse hospitals for the newest wave of COVID. “We need that money now.

“We can’t have the mayor telling other departments that the city has no money for them because the hospitals are having so many emergencies.

“We are saying to FEMA: no more delays. We can’t wait another two years."

"Omicron has posed other problems from the other waves: particularly that we have lost so many staff to Omicron,” said NYC H + H CEO Mitch Katz, MD, who explained that approximately 25% of his staff is out sick. “So we have to focus on bringing in outside staff, so the $111 million is being used right now to supplement staffing so we can continue to run and make our mission happen.”

Holding up a sign that said, “FEMA: Get Ready, New York is going to be asking you for more money: we need it,” Sen. Schumer said, “he is always asking for money for New York.”


Mayor Adams reminded New Yorkers that while the federal and the city governments are doing their parts to fight COVID, New Yorkers have to do so as well: by getting vaccinated and boosted.

“We know that hospitalizations and deaths go up for everyone if you are not vaccinated,” the mayor said. “Children who are not vaccinated are four times for likely to be hospitalized. Parents: please do your part, so we can get through COVID, open our city, and save the lives of our families.”

Photo by: Flickr

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