SCHUMER ANNOUNCES BIG VICTORY FOR NYC & BELLEVUE INCLUDED IN FEDERAL SPENDING BILL: FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EBOLA EXPENSES INCURRED FOR TREATMENT OF DR. SPENCER, TRANSPORT OF POTENTIAL EBOLA CASES, TRAINING & PREPARATION FOR DEADLY DISEASE
In November, Schumer Stood in Front of Bellevue Hospital to Urge That NYC’s & The HHC- Public Hospital System’s Meticulous Handling of the Ebola Crisis Be Compensated - Schumer Subsequently Urged Senate Appropriators to Include New Funding to Cover Costs of Quarantine, Care & Transport for Dr. Spencer & More
Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Historic $5.4 Billion for Domestic & International Ebola Work, Including Hospital Reimbursement for Ebola Care, Training of Emergency Personnel & Hospital Workers & More - Schumer Will Also Push For NY Ebola Treatment Centers To Get Reimbursement
Schumer Will Now Urge HHS Secretary to Give NYC A Significant Portion of Domestic Ebola Funding, As Secretary Creates Spending Plan in Next 30 Days - This New Federal Funding Will Help Ensure NYC & Taxpayers Aren’t Left Holding the Bag for Their Thorough Handling of Deadly Infectious Disease
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the just-released FY15 Appropriations bill includes more than $5.4 billion in new funding for domestic Ebola response like reimbursement to hospitals and international aid to contain this outbreak. In November, Schumer stood in front of Bellevue Hospital and called for New York City to be fairly reimbursed for a large percentage of the over $20 million in costs it had incurred at that point to both quarantine and treat Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer at Bellevue Hospital, to transport potential Ebola patients, train emergency and medical personnel and more. Schumer since urged his colleagues on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to include this critical – and historic - Ebola funding in this federal spending bill, in order to compensate the City and its public hospital system for the extensive, smart measures taken in handling the Ebola crisis, which were critical in order to avoid massive negative repercussions to the city and country if the disease had spread further.
Schumer said that the Omnibus spending bill provides top-line national numbers, and it is not intended to be split evenly amongst all states, but rather is to be provided to states like New York, Nebraska, Maryland and others that handled Ebola directly. Schumer said that this funding is a critical first step, and he will now lobby the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide New York with a large portion of this new funding, as the Secretary develops a spending plan within 30 days of enactment. Schumer will highlight New York City’s significant costs incurred at Bellevue Hospital, other New York City hospitals, and in the City for training, transport and more. Schumer will also fight for money for other New York Ebola Treatment Centers, in addition to Bellevue.
“This $5.4 billion Ebola-related funding stream is just what the doctor ordered for New York City, Bellevue and our public hospital system, which organized a world-class response to the emergence of Ebola in the nation’s most populous city,” said Senator Schumer. “New York City and HHC Bellevue have done a stellar job at containing this threat, through its meticulous treatment of Dr. Spencer; through the extensive contact tracing of individuals coming into JFK from Ebola hotspots; through training of medical and emergency professionals, and more. Now that these top-line numbers are set, I will lobby the HHS Secretary for New York to get the lion’s share of this domestic pot of funding,” said Senator Schumer.
“This $5.4 billion spending bill recognizes two critical points when it comes to handling the Ebola outbreak: this deadly disease has caused true devastation in West Africa and we must help those countries contain its outbreak, and we must create the best line of defense to protect the United States from this deadly disease,” added Senator Schumer.
Schumer noted that New York City could be reimbursed in a wide variety of ways. Bellevue Hospital will be eligible to receive reimbursement for care that is not covered by the individual’s insurance. This could include covering costs of testing, overtime for medical staff, waste removal and more. New York City conducted extensive contact tracing, training of emergency response personnel and other critical steps that could be eligible for reimbursement.
The FY15 Appropriations bill, which is expected to be considered by the House of Representatives by Thursday, includes the following funding for Ebola:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will receive $1.77B, which is available until Sept. 2019, for preparedness, transportation, medical care, treatment, and other related costs, like the extensive contact tracing conducted on a daily basis in New York City.
· No less than $10M for worker-based training to prevent and reduce exposure of hospital employees, emergency first responders and other workers who are at risk of exposure to Ebola through their work duties, like the critical training of emergency medical professionals leading up to the first case of Ebola in New York City, related to properly wearing PPE’s, quarantining homes and more.
· $597M to support national public health institutes and global health security
· $155M to support the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program
National Institute of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will receive $238M, which is available until Sept. 2016, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Ebola domestically and internationally.
Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund will receive $733M, which is available until Sept. 2019, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Ebola domestically or internationally, and to develop necessary medical countermeasures and vaccines including the development and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, necessary medical supplies, and administrative activities. These funds may be used for the renovation and alteration of privately owned facilities to improve preparedness and response capability at the State and local level
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will receive $25M to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Ebola virus domestically and internationally, and to develop necessary medical countermeasures and vaccines, including the review, regulations, post market surveillance of vaccines and therapies, and administrative activities.
Department of Defense, will receive $17M for Procurement, and $95M for Research and Development, related to developing technologies that are relevant to the Ebola outbreak.
State Department will receive $36.4M for necessary expenses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Ebola virus disease outbreak, including: $19 million for USAID, $312M for Global Health Programs, $1.4B for International Assistance, $711M for Economic Support Fund, $5.3M for Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs.
At its peak, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) had approximately 500 staffers working on Ebola full-time. As part of the response, New York City coordinated an extensive contact tracing process that operated 24-hours a day. In fact, many of these staffers were working overtime, seven days a week. According to the New York Times, as of November 11, 2014, New York City had been tracking approximately 300 people per day for possible Ebola symptoms. Of that, two-thirds had been in Ebola hotspots in West Africa like, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. One-third of those being tracked were individuals involved in taking care of Dr. Spencer at Bellevue Hospital, including doctors, nurses and Fire Department employees who transported him to the hospital. As part of the contact tracing process, individuals being monitored for possible Ebola symptoms were required to take their temperature twice a day and check in with the NYC Health Department for 21 days. Operators, including some who spoke West African dialects, checked in with individuals and recorded the temperatures. Additionally, New York City helped with case investigations; researchers known as “disease detectives”, as well as the police, investigated all suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola and helped locate individuals who needed to be monitored. Additionally, HHC incurred costs for contracted hires of healthcare professionals needed to backfill for staffing shortages on nurses treating Dr. Spencer and training for Ebola protocols.
As of November 17th, New York City alone had spent over $21 million tackling the Ebola crisis – a number that has since risen significantly. Before Schumer’s intervention, New York State as a whole was only expected to receive approximately $14.6 M of the $6.1 billion that President Obama has requested for Ebola. The requested money focused on preparedness activities and did not account for the actual costs that have been incurred from the coordination around Ebola treatment and prevention activities. Hospitals in New York, for example, have incurred enormous costs in their urgent preparations to treat a suspect or confirmed Ebola patient – especially Bellevue Hospital and nine other hospitals that have volunteered to be designated Ebola centers.
Schumer also had urged that an ‘Ebola Contingency Fund’ be created and operated like the CDC’s federal isolation and quarantine fund for Tuberculosis within the Division of Global Migration, which sets aside federal funding for states and localities to treat possible tuberculosis patients and contain the threat. To ensure prompt and effective isolation, the CDC has Memorandums of Agreement with 182 hospitals for transportation, evaluation, diagnosis, care and treatment of travelers with tuberculosis who pose a significant risk to the public. Schumer noted two pots of funding that will be made available for the long term, through September 2019: 1.) that both the CDC funding of $1.77 billion preparedness, transportation, medical care, treatment, and other related costs, and 2.) the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund of $733M to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Ebola domestically or internationally, and to develop necessary medical countermeasures and vaccines including the development and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, necessary medical supplies, and administrative activities.