The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided $2 billion in funeral assistance to families of Covid-19 victims, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Florida, and New York.
- District of Columbia: FEMA on Tuesday announced that it has provided $2 billion in funeral assistance to the families of Covid-19 victims. Last year, the organization announced that it would reimburse the families of Covid-19 victims for funeral expenses. Since then, FEMA has provided financial assistance to over 300,000 applicants. According to FEMA, applicants can qualify for "up to $9,000 for each deceased individual per application, with a maximum of $35,000 for families who may have multiple funeral expenses due to Covid-19." On average, the organization has provided $6,500 in funeral assistance per applicant. The program has provided people with "critical financial relief during a time of such unexpected, unimaginable and wide spread loss," said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. "Our new outreach campaign is designed to reach families, especially across underserved communities, where the cost of a funeral can be a financial burden to a loved one," she added. (Saric, Axios, 3/15)
- Florida: Memorial Healthcare System on Tuesday announced that Aurelio Fernandez III will retire from his position as president and CEO of the health system. Fernandez, who has served in the position for six years, will officially retire at the end of April. As president and CEO, Fernandez established the health system's office of diversity, equity, and inclusion, oversaw the groundbreaking of the $125 million Memorial Cancer Institute, expanded pediatric services across Palm Beach County, and opened the first four stories of a 130,000-square-foot medical pavilion at Memorial Hospital Miramar. "My tenure as president and CEO has been the most rewarding time of my career," Fernandez said. "Memorial has a great culture and I'm very proud of the work our employees do every day for patients and the community." (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/15)
- New York: Brooks-TLC Hospital System on Tuesday approved a new contract that includes a 10% salary increase, a one-time appreciation bonus, and several incentives to help overcome staffing shortages. Under the agreement with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East—a union that represents around 150 Brooks-TLC health care workers—per diem employees will be given a one-time appreciation bonus of $250, and full-time workers will be given a $750 bonus. In addition, the agreement included an increase in pension contributions, step increases based on years of service, and an agreement to continue negotiations regarding incentives for union members who agree to take additional shifts. The contract, which is effective through April 2023, covers a wide range of positions, including environmental services aides, food service attendants, MRI technicians, and registered nurses. "We worked hard to get this agreement done," said Jeffrey St. George, a personal care assistant. "We are a little closer to where we need to be in these tough times. We will continue to work hard in our future." (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/15)