FEMA Awards Over $5.6 Million to Massachusetts for COVID Overtime Costs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sending more than $5.6 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to reimburse it for the cost of overtime paid to state health employees engaged in critical functions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $5,651,435 Public Assistance grant will reimburse the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the cost of having a total of 974 staff work overtime to manage the response to the pandemic between March and September 2020.

That included providing a chief medical officer at the state’s emergency operation center to manage the disaster, as well as staff to provide dissemination of information to the public to provide warnings and guidance; provide direct care for COVID-19 patients; perform increased security functions required for additional personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements; and to perform increased disinfection tasks. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health provided staff for increased laboratory activity to process 102,258 COVID-19 tests. Among the staff positions impacted were epidemiologists, janitors, laboratory technicians, licensed practical nurses, microbiologists, nurse practitioners, nursing assistants, registered nurses, and respiratory therapy technicians who worked a total of 110,955 overtime hours. 

“FEMA is pleased to be able to assist Massachusetts with these costs,” said FEMA Region 1 Regional Administrator Lori Ehrlich. “Reimbursing state, county, and municipal governments – as well as eligible non-profits and tribal entities – for the costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic is an important part of our nation’s ongoing recovery.”

FEMA’s Public Assistance program is an essential source of funding for states and communities recovering from a federally declared disaster or emergency.

So far, FEMA has provided more than $2.5 billion in Public Assistance grants to Massachusetts to reimburse the commonwealth for pandemic-related expenses.

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