The public nurses of the New York City Health+Hospital system (NYC H+H) played a critical role in saving the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers infected with COVID-19.
The city’s public hospitals expanded bed capacity at the height of the pandemic in spring 2020, yet a large portion of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds sought by NYC H+H for reimbursement were withheld.
This week, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) announced the forthcoming payment of $620 million in FEMA funds for reimbursement of the COVID-related expenses to NYC H+H.
“During COVID, these folks went all out,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), referring to nurses and other caregivers in the NYC H+H facilities, at a news conference in front of Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx on Sept. 15. Schumer acknowledged Rep. Torres (D-NY) for his help in the successful fight to release the delayed FEMA funds.
“We met and fought and fought,” Schumer said. “Today, we are happy to announce that FEMA has relented.”
The $620 million constitutes a large portion of NYC H+H’s original reimbursement claim when combined with the previously obligated funds.
But NYC H+H has told FEMA that additional expenses could bring the total to about $1 billion, Schumer’s office said.
“The bottom line is: Today we want to thank FEMA,” Schumer said. “We got this done.”
The nurses of the New York State Nurses Association at work in the NYC H+H system continue their care of COVID-19 patients, reporting every day to provide necessary treatment. Their devotion to patients during the pandemic is extraordinary.
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, visit nysna.org.
Photo credit: NYC nurses.