The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued updated guidance on medical care and associated costs for which monetary assistance is available during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The federal share of funding to cover eligible medical care has increased from 75% to 100% of associated costs, FEMA announced in the new guidance. The increase is retroactive to Jan. 20, 2020 and lasts through Sept. 30, 2021.
Other updates of note:
Vaccination programs can be covered
Hospitals are eligible to receive monetary assistance for COVID-19 vaccination activities. Among various other areas, the assistance can cover:
- PPE, other equipment and supplies
- Additional staff
- Communications to the public about the vaccination program
- “Reasonable and necessary” IT , equipment and systems for patient registration and tracking and vaccine-related inventory management
- Training and technical assistance specific to vaccine storage, handling, distribution and administration
Emphasis is being placed on equitability
Recipients of FEMA funding for COVID-19 response and recovery “must prioritize limited resources to ensure an equitable pandemic response,” the guidance states.
“FEMA will monitor compliance for all COVID-19 work” and will require recipients to:
- Provide assurances of compliance with nondiscrimination requirements
- Retain compliance information
- Submit and retain complete, accurate and timely reports
- Respond to requests for information
Recommended steps include:
- Using the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index or similar tool to determine highest-risk communities
- Considering communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of infection rates, hospitalizations and mortality
- Strengthening data collection efforts to substantiate that COVID-19 aid is reaching the highest-risk communities and underserved populations
With respect to funding for vaccination efforts and associated activities, each recipient will be required to demonstrate how equity was considered in its vaccination strategy.