Schumer, Adams demand FEMA speed up COVID funds for NYC hospitals

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Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday demanded that the federal government speed up delivery of the nearly $1 billion in coronavirus emergency relief funds it is set to allocate to New York City’s public-hospital system.

During a press conference with Mayor Eric Adams, Schumer (D- NY) chided the Federal Emergency Management Agency for prior delays and ordered the entity to quickly deliver the new tranche of funding.

“Today, I am saying to FEMA, no more delays. When the city applies for relief money for Omicron, we can’t wait another two years. We need the money now,” said Schumer, the Democratic Majority leader, outside NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in Manhattan. 

“We have already told FEMA, get the new money out immediately so our hospitals can do the job they are meant to do,” he said. “The delays we had are unacceptable, both on the public side and the private side, and we’re not going to tolerate that again.”

Schumer recalled that Health +Hospitals in October 2020 requested reimbursement for about $900 million used for hiring extra staff to care for COVID-19 patients — but FEMA would only compensate a third of the costs.

Schumer said that the delays from the federal government have been "unacceptable."
Schumer said that the delays from the federal government have been “unacceptable.”
Bryan Smith/ZUMA Press Wire

Adams, who took office Jan. 1, also urged FEMA to speedily distribute funds.

“[Health and Hospitals] spent over $2.5 billion to fight COVID during the first surge. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to be paid. They did their job, darn it, and the federal government needed to do its job,” he said.

“We saw the hospitals move without hesitating. So why the heck did FEMA hesitate? That is irresponsible and unacceptable. … The lag time that we experienced had financial consequences, and it was real.

“We need to move faster and get things done.” 

Mayor Adams discussed the "financial consequences" the city experience due to FEMA's delays.
Mayor Adams discussed the “financial consequences” the city experienced due to FEMA’s delays.
Bryan Smith/ZUMA Press Wire

Rep Ritchie Torres (D- The Bronx) lamented prior struggles about getting FEMA to pay up.

“The bureaucratic reasoning of FEMA was out of touch with the reality that we as New Yorkers were experiencing on the ground,” he said. “We all remember the images of overflowing emergency rooms and those refrigerated trucks full of dead bodies.” 

The plea from the trio of politicians comes after Schumer told The Post on Wednesday that FEMA is allocating $924.4 million in reimbursement for services the 11 public hospitals and five other nursing facilities provided to care for sick patients during the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the five boroughs in 2020.

Hospital staff at the press conference held by Schumer and Adams at Bellevue Hospital on January 9, 2022.
Hospital staff at the press conference held by Schumer and Adams at Bellevue Hospital on January 9, 2022.
Bryan Smith/ZUMA Press Wire

It also comes after Schumer in April 2020 accused FEMA of slow-walking $325 million in aid for city public hospitals

On Wednesday, city officials announced Big Apple hospitals will receive nearly $140 million in funding as they handle a recent surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations. The city’s public hospital system, NYC Health + Hospitals, will receive an extra $111 million in support from City Hall and smaller, private safety-net hospitals will get $33 million in loans from Goldman Sachs, Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, and Adams revealed.

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