Breaking down significant updates to grant programs and next steps for obtaining funding
This December, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed the FY2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133). Along with COVID-19 relief, this also includes funding for the federal government until Sept. 20, 2021. But, what does this mean for EMS agencies? Many first responders do not have the availability to comb through the 5,000 plus page document. However, EMS agencies should take note; below is a breakdown of significant updates to grant programs and funding sources, and their previous funding levels:
From (FY20) $319.5 Million
To (FY21) $360 Million
Description: (Currently open) The AFG enhances the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards. This funding is for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards. Fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations, and state fire training academies are eligible to apply.
New to AFG: Authorization for FEMA Administrator to waive the local match requirement for the AFG grants and the maintenance of expenditure requirements.
From (FY20) $5 Million
To (FY21) $5.5 Million
Description: (Currently open) SIREN Act
Additionally, there are a few other changes that EMS agencies should pay close attention. As part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, Health and Human Services’ Public Health and Social Services Emergency fund received an additional $3 billion in grants for hospitals and healthcare providers. Hospitals and providers are to be reimbursed for, “healthcare related expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to the public health emergency resulting from coronavirus.”
Also, an additional $250 million was appropriated to the FCC for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program that was authorized under the CARES Act.
Finally, an extension of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which extends the date by which state and local governments must make expenditures with CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund awards, was extended to Dec. 31, 2021. These funds can be utilized for a number of COVID-19 response, recovery and planning efforts.
There are steps you can take to plan for FY21:
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