WASHINGTON, D.C. [03/18/20]— Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) is pressing the top Trump Administration Emergency Management official for “clear and strong” assurances that hospitals and other health providers who now face an overwhelming increase in emergency coronavirus patients will get quick federal funding and reimbursement to help them expand capacity to meet the need.
In a letter Wednesday to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Peter Gaynor, Sen. Smith said such funding assurances are second in priority only to ensuring that Minnesota and the rest of the country have adequate testing capacity to allow the country to determine the extent of the pandemic in the United States.
“I understand that you are, rightfully, mandated to avoid [funding] duplication with other agencies, but a clear and strong message from you that states can go ahead and safely assume that the Federal government will come through is needed,” Sen. Smith wrote to Gaynor. “I’m urging you to quickly and publicly clarify that FEMA Public Assistance will reimburse for expenses related to building surge capacity at hospitals. Time is of the essence, as the infection spreads in Minnesota and across the nation. Hospitals are doing all that they can to build capacity to withstand the dramatically increased intensive care needs they will soon see, and they need reassurance that they have FEMA’s support.”
You can read Sen. Smith’s letter here.