State to Receive $32 Million from Feds for Ebola Spending

Capital New York
February 20, 2015
State to Receive $32 Million from Feds for Ebola Spending
By Dan Goldberg

New York State will receive more than $32 million from the federal government, reimbursing hospitals across the state for expenses related to Ebola preparedness, according to Senator Chuck Schumer's office.

The money, about two-thirds of what advocates had hoped for, comes from the nearly $2.8 billion Congress allocated for Ebola when it passed its latest spending plan in December.

New York City will receive most of the funding, with $21.7 million going for hospital preparedness.

Montefiore Medical Center spent approximately $7.5 million building a biocontainment unit and training staff, Mount Sinai has spent between $7 million and $8 million, and New York-Presbyterian has spent roughly $3.3 million, according to Schumer's office.

Bellevue Hospital Center will receive an additional $3 million for becoming a regional Ebola "super" hospital, and will be reimbursed for the costs related to treating Dr. Craig Spencer, the only New Yorker to contract the virus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had already reimbursed Bellevue, which is part of the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation, $20 million for the expenses it incurred for treating Spencer, who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa. It was not immediately clear whether the city would be reimbursed that money by the federal government.

The state, excluding the city, will receive $7.5 million from the federal government.

North Shore-L.I.J., Stony Brook University, and five Ebola treatment centers upstate spent approximately $10 million, according to Schumer's office.

“This major transfusion of federal aid for New York’s designated Ebola treatment centers is just what the doctor ordered for New York hospitals and Bellevue," Schumer said in a statement. "When the nation’s public health was at risk, Bellevue and New York’s hospitals answered the call in heroic and professional fashion. They quickly and meticulously handled the Ebola threat by training thousands of healthcare workers, preparing isolation units, purchasing new equipment and more."

The money will cover most of the expenses hospitals incurred preparing for a possible outbreak, but advocates had hoped for more.

Schumer, as well as hospital advocacy groups in New York, called on the federal government to allocate at least $50 million to New York's hospitals.

"Hospitals throughout New York State have made tremendous expenditures to prepare for Ebola patients and while we are pleased [the Department of Health and Human Services] has allocated some much-needed funding, we are disappointed that H.H.S. allotted far less than Congress provided and what is needed statewide," said Dennis Whalen, president of the Healthcare Association of New York State. "We thank leaders in Congress like Senator Schumer and Representatives [Joseph] Crowley, [Eliot] Engel and [Nita] Lowey for securing this funding. However, more funding is needed to support hospitals’ intensive and costly efforts to be prepared to treat Ebola patients and ensure true readiness to treat disease outbreaks, wherever and whenever they may emerge.”
 

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