While New Jersey’s COVID-19 curve has been flattening, North Jersey legislators are working to steer federal funding to help one of the hardest hit states in the country continue with recovery efforts.
New Jersey is set to receive a collective $275 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to boost the state’s health care response to the ongoing pandemic that has infected over 169,000 and claimed the lives of more than 13,000.
The funding will be used to support those on the frontline of the fight by ensuring they have the resources they need now and in the future, should a possible second wave of the virus hit.
Rep. Bill Pascrell said, “Make no mistake: New Jersey is still in this crisis. From day one, our Senators and I have continually demanded increased levels of support from Washington and we won’t stop until this pandemic is behind us. These federal funds are essential to help New Jersey through these hard times.”
The state recently entered Phase 2 of its reopening process—which allows for in-person retail and outdoor dining and the planned return of casinos and indoor dining on July 2. However Gov. Phil Murphy warned if there’s a significant rise in cases, the reopening plan will be put on pause.
As part of a $175 billion Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act, Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, five hospitals in North Jersey will receive $243 million.
Hospitals To Receive $243M
The fund was set aside for hospitals with large numbers of COVID-19 admissions , which includes many in North Jersey “in the eye of the COVID-19 storm,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer said in June 17 statement.
According to the congressman, money will go to facilities operated by Hackensack University Medical Center, Atlantic Health Medical Center, Valley Health System, New Bridge Medical Center, and Holy Name Medical Center.
“One of my top priorities throughout this crisis has been working to ensure our frontline medical workers, health centers, hospitals, and first responders in each county in the Fifth District have the supplies, resources, and full support they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” Gottheimer said. “This federal investment going to Fifth District hospital networks will help boost care for patients and get health care workers and first responders tested as they continue battling this crisis.”
More FEMA Funds
Additionally, the state’s Department of Health is set to receive a $23 million grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support its response to the pandemic, according to a June 19 announcement from Pascrell and Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
Following President Donald Trump’s issuance of a federal disaster declaration, FEMA Public Assistance funding became available to all states, territories and Washington, D.C. As part of a $2 trillion economic stimulus package, Congress set aside an additional $45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund.
As of May 31, nearly $10.2 billion has been disbursed to support COVID-19-related expenses across the country, leaving $75 billion in the fund, according to a newly-released FEMA report.
To date, more than $158 million in FEMA public assistance grants have gone to New Jersey, including $2.3 million to the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management and $132 million for New Jersey State Police.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our state hard, but without the dedicated work of our public health officials at the New Jersey Department of Health, the impact would no doubt be much worse,” Menendez said in a press release.
“This federal funding will allow (New Jersey’s) Health Department to continue its good work combatting COVID-19 and guiding and effecting responsible strategy through science to re-open our state and economy that puts the health of all New Jerseyans first,” he said.
Funding Purchases Hospital Equipment
Nearly $6 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Hospital Preparedness Program will be allocated to New Jersey, according to Sens. Booker and Menendez.
The grant—which is being issued to the state’s Department of Health and New Jersey Hospital Association—can be used by hospitals to purchase additional medical equipment and support preparedness planning.
It allows hospitals to collaborate statewide “to ensure the residents of New Jersey can access the medical care they need in the event of an emergency,” the senators said.
“Every single dollar to support our hospitals in the state counts,” Menendez said. “These critical resources will help ensure our hospitals and healthcare workers are prepared and properly equipped to to respond to this unprecedented crisis and beyond.”
Booker said, “This public health crisis demands an all hands on deck approach, and I am committed to ensuring our health care providers have the federal resources needed to protect the health and safety of all New Jerseyans, especially those in our most vulnerable communities who rely on these community health centers.”