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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 113-12000-00; City of Cedar Rapids
PW ID# 3918; Emergency Protective Measures
February 17, 2012
Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division
7105 NW 70th Avenue
Camp Dodge, Bldg W-4
Johnston, Iowa 50131-1824
Re: Second Appeal – City of Cedar Rapids, PA ID 113-12000-00, Emergency Protective Measures, FEMA-1763-DR-IA, Project Worksheet (PW) 3918
Dear Mr. Schouten:
This letter is in response to a letter from your office dated January 6, 2011, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the City of Cedar Rapids (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of $9,735 for costs associated with vaccinations of emergency workers.
In May 2008, severe storms and flooding caused damage throughout the State of Iowa. The President declared a major disaster (FEMA-1763-DR-IA) on May 27, 2008, with an incident period beginning May 25, 2008. The Applicant vaccinated first responders and provided medical supplies as an emergency protective measure in support of rescue missions resulting from the flooding. FEMA prepared PW 3918 for $9,735 to document the cost of the vaccines and medical supplies. On October 30, 2008, FEMA determined the costs requested were ineligible under Response and Recovery Policy 9525.4, Medical Care and Evacuations, dated August 17, 1999, the policy in effect at the time of the disaster.
The Applicant appealed the determination in a letter dated March 30, 2010, almost a year and a half after the determination that the costs were ineligible. The Applicant indicated that its primary basis for the appeal was the change in the updated FEMA Disaster Assistance Policy (DAP) 9525.4, dated July 16, 2008. The updated policy includes the cost of vaccinations for disaster victims and emergency workers as an eligible cost. The Applicant also asserted the vaccinations were an emergency protective measure as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and required under the Applicant’s Immunization Program for Disaster Responders. The Applicant further states the costs are eligible under Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §206.223(a)(3), General Work Eligibility, because the work of providing the vaccinations was the direct result of a major disaster event, located in the disaster area and is the legal responsibility of an eligible applicant.
In a letter dated August 26, 2010, the Regional Administrator denied the appeal stating DAP 9525.4 was updated on July 16, 2008, which allowed FEMA to provide funding for vaccinations in disasters declared on or after that date. However, the updated policy was not in effect at the time this disaster was declared and the policy was not retroactive. Under the policy in effect for FEMA-1763-DR-IA, published on August 17, 1999, vaccinations are an ineligible cost.
In its second appeal letter submitted on November 15, 2010, the Applicant appealed the determination. The Applicant stated the costs are reasonable and that FEMA should make the updated policy provisions retroactive. The Applicant cited the short period between the disaster declaration on May 27, 2008, and the publication of the updated policy on July 16, 2008, as justification for why FEMA should apply the updated policy to the Applicant’s vaccination costs. At the request of the State and the Applicant, FEMA convened a teleconference with representatives of the Applicant on November 17, 2011, to discuss the subject appeal. During the call, the Applicant reiterated its request that FEMA apply DAP 9525.4 retroactively.
Response and Recovery Policy 9525.4, Medical Care and Evacuations, dated August 17, 1999, was in effect on the date of the disaster event and specifically excluded vaccinations as an eligible cost. The current policy, DAP9525.4, dated July 16, 2008, includes the cost of vaccinations as an eligible emergency medical care cost and is applicable to all emergencies and major disasters declared on or after the date of publication of the policy. This policy is not applicable to major disasters and emergencies declared before that date. Because the policy in effect for FEMA-1763-DR-IA specifically identified vaccinations as ineligible costs, these costs are not reimbursable through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance regulations and policy. Accordingly, I am denying the second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206, Appeals.
cc: Beth Freeman
FEMA Region VII