News Release: FEMA Obligates $47.9 Million To Hire 955 Nurses In Hawaiʻi Amid Omicron Surge

Posted on Jan 19, 2022 in Information and News Releases, News Stories

FEMA Obligates $47.9 Million To Hire 955 Nurses In Hawaiʻi Amid Omicron Surge

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022                                            Release No. 2022-005

HONOLULU – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Wednesday announced that it has obligated the advance of more than $47 million to pay for nearly 1,000 state-contracted medical staff to assist hospitals in Hawai‘i that are struggling with the omicron surge of COVID-19.

The advance funding represents half of the $95.8 million sought by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) at the request of the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) managed and facilitated the emergency funding request to FEMA as part of the State’s COVID response.

The funding is part of FEMA’s Public Assistance program to reimburse eligible costs for emergency personnel assisting with COVID response work. Allowable expenses covered by 100% federal funds during the pandemic include medical surge personnel to supplement existing staff at hospitals to reduce or eliminate the spread of the virus.

DOH sought the funding to deploy 955 medical personnel from Jan. 10, 2022 until April 1, 2022. Personnel hired under the DOH contract with ProLink Healthcare began deploying to Hawaii hospitals in the past week.

DOH and HIEMA asked to have 50% of the funding – $47. 9 million – obligated in advance to expedite payment to the medical personnel, whose services have been in high demand as the omicron variant has sent COVID infections rocketing to new highs around the world. FEMA on Wednesday confirmed that those advance funds have been obligated.

The omicron surge has put a strain on medical workers and hospitals as they cope with demand for services and illnesses among their own staffs.

Luke Meyers, HI-EMA Administrator, thanked FEMA for its assistance in quickly approving the complex application and financial review.

“We really appreciate all the partners on the (FEMA) Region IX Team. These resources will be vital as we continue to battle the current COVID-19 wave,” he said.

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Adam Weintraub
Communications Director
Hawai`i Emergency Management Agency
3949 Diamond Head Rd. Honolulu, HI

[email protected]