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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 037-90312; White Memorial Medical Center
DSR ID# 91338 & 91339; Medical Office Buildings # 1700 & 1710 Ceasar Chaves Ave
Citation: Second Appeal by the White Memorial Medical Center for A&E costs, and the cost of repairs and upgrading identified in two A&E reports on the Medical Office Buildings (MOB's) at 1700 & 1710 Ceasar Chaves Ave.
Cross-Reference: Subject: Structural damage repair eligibility, seismic upgrading, quality of A&E reports, subgrantee's identification of damage, codes and standards: FEMA Record: DSR #91338 & 91339.
Summary: The subgrantee requests that the cost of (1) preparing A&E reports on the two MOB's ($25,247) and (2) the costs of repairs and upgrading specified as necessary in the A&E reports (approximately $2.8 million) be determined eligible based on the conclusions of the A&E teams that the reported damage was caused by the Northridge earthquake. Until the first appeal decision, the buildings had not been considered to be eligible by FEMA because of their partial use by for-profit purposes, but the first appeal decision allowed a portion of the costs based on the percentage of floor space in non-profit hospital related use. As a result of this late reversal, the issue of eligible damage repair was postponed to this late date. Patch and paint repairs were approved in the first appeal, but the A&E costs and upgrade costs were rejected because of the finding that there was insufficient damage to justify them.
Issues: At issue is (1) FEMA's approval of the A&E reports as eligible retroactively following completion of the work (no A&E DSR has been approved to date, yet the reports are complete), (2) the verification of the damage described in the reports as caused by the Northridge earthquake, (3) the veracity and objective documentary and analytical backup for the conclusions drawn in the reports, and the quality of the reports themselves.
Findings: (1) FEMA had not approved any A&E DSR authorizing reimbursement for A&E costs on these projects. Without an approved DSR, there is no authorization for FEMA reimbursement for such costs, regardless of the nature of conversations between FEMA inspectors and the Subgrantee about the value of such reports, or the need for them. (2) The A&E reports as submitted are neither sufficiently accurate nor inclusive of enough reliable technical information to be approved retroactively. The subgrantee has failed to provide sufficient verification as to (1) the existence and cause of the claimed damage, (2) the structural significance of the claimed damage, and (3) the justification under FEMA regulations for the eligibility of the seismic upgrading or building replacements as a consequence of the damage.
Rationale: FEMA eligibility is dependent on a verification of damage attributable to the declared disaster. Design shortcomings are not in themselves a basis for FEMA eligibility for structural improvements. A proper and professional identification of eligible damage is the responsibility of the subgrantee. This damage must be verifiable by FEMA inspectors. Eligibility includes only that damage which can be reasonably attributable to the declared disaster.