WASHINGTON, D.C. [03/20/20]—This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) pressed the top Trump Administration Emergency Management official for assurances that hospitals and other health providers facing an overwhelming increase in emergency coronavirus patients will get quick federal funding and reimbursement to help them expand capacity to meet the need. And yesterday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) addressed a number of Sen. Smith’s concerns by outlining how, under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, FEMA may provide assistance for emergency protective measures including temporary medical facilities and enhanced medical and hospital capacity for treatment when existing facilities cannot accommodate the patient load, or to quarantine potentially infected people.
“Hospitals are doing amazing work to build capacity in order to address intensive care needs, and I’ve said that they need reassurance that they have FEMA’s support,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “While I’m looking for further clarification that FEMA or another federal agency will cover purchases of additional specialized equipment—like ventilators, and not just reimburse for their use—I’m glad FEMA is providing this guidance to help health care providers in Minnesota and nationwide. This new guidance is a good step in the right direction.”