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FEMA reverses decision, will provide nearly $1 billion in COVID relief to NYC Health + Hospitals

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 20, 2021
Business Affairs

The resurgence in cases, combined with the emergence of the Delta variant and the initial outbreak, have devastated hospitals across the country and around the globe financially and in their operations. Many have resorted to once again postponing elective and non-urgent procedures due to staff shortages, a lack of available hospital beds and over capacity in ICUs. This has resulted in longer waiting times and even denials of care for patients.

NYC Health + Hospitals has spent over $1.6 billion as of March on its COVID-19 response and planned on spending nearly $2 billion before the Delta variant emerged, it said on its website. In a letter this past summer, Dr. Mitchell Katz, the healthcare system’s CEO, told FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell that the healthcare system was strained financially and may not be able to provide necessary services and care to patients, as it assumed that the costs would be covered at the time by the federal government.

“Recall that NYC was the first American city to experience the rapid and devastating COVID-19 spread, so there was no rule book or script to follow,” he wrote. “We in NYC and at H+H, in particular, were setting the standards for the nation.”

During the conference, Schumer thanked the agency and Biden administration for providing the additional funds. “The bottom line is: Today we want to thank FEMA. We got this done.”

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