Citation: FEMA-1604-DR-MS, Hancock Medical Center, Second Appeal, Project Worksheet 4191
Cross-Reference: Emergency Protective Measures
Summary: The Hancock Medical Center (Applicant) operates a 104 bed, Level 2, critical care hospital in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina damaged the hospital’s kitchen facilities, rendering them unusable. As an alternative, the Applicant’s staff prepared meals off-site at a local high school and transported the meals to the hospital for staff, emergency responders, and patients. FEMA prepared PW 4191 to document the Applicant’s request for $118,298, but upon review determined that under Response and Recovery Policy 9525.4, Medical Care and Evacuations the food preparation costs represented increased operating costs that were ineligible for reimbursement. At PW closeout, the Applicant claimed total project costs of $241,484. On September 16, 2010, the Final Inspection Report, signed by both the FEMA and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Closeout Specialists, noted that the claimed costs were ineligible increased operating costs. The Applicant filed a first appeal of the Final Inspection Report on October 28, 2010, asserting that due to the circumstances at the time of the disaster, the food preparation qualified as eligible emergency protective measures and the incurred costs should be reimbursed. On March 23, 2012, FEMA denied the Applicant’s first appeal citing FEMA Policy 9525.4 which states that “When medical facilities in a disaster area experience increased patient loads and operating costs, FEMA generally does not reimburse them.” On May 23, 2012, the Applicant filed a second appeal asserting that the food costs were not due to increased patient loads, as contemplated by the FEMA policy, but were a direct result of the destruction of the hospital’s kitchen by Hurricane Katrina. Furthermore, the Applicant pointed out that the temporary use of the local high school’s food preparation facilities was the most immediate and cost-effective measure available to provide interim food service to hospital staff and patients.
Issue: 1) Does the feeding of patients constitute an increased operating cost?
2) Does the feeding of hospital staff and emergency responders constitute an increased operating cost?
2) No. Applicant does not normally incur costs for feeding staff. The costs were a direct result of the declared event.
Rationale: Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Section 403 Essential Assistance; Response and Recovery Policy 9525.4, Medical Care and Evacuations.