MEMORANDUM TO: Public Assistance Staff
Director, Recovery Division
Public Assistance Officer
Public Assistance Officer
Disaster-Specific Guidance on
Special Needs Shelters
January 26, 2005
When a major disaster, such as a hurricane, threatens the population of
Louisiana, certain medically dependent individuals may need to be evacuated from
the affected area to Special Needs Shelters where professional care can continue
to be provided. Typically, local or State government officials will order
the evacuation of Special Needs (SN) people in advance of calling for mandatory
evacuation of the general population. Each Parish has designated SN
shelters and the State has designated regional SN shelters. This guidance
document addresses the eligibility of costs associated with evacuation and
sheltering of Special Needs people who reside in Louisiana.
Needs (SN) people are medically dependent individuals who have physical or
mental conditions that limit their ability to function on their own and who
cannot provide for or arrange their own transportation or sheltering outside a
risk area. Generally, SN people reside in nursing homes or in other
residential healthcare facilities, or are Home Health Patients who require home
treatment or care. In some circumstances, SN people may, at the time of an
evacuation, be hospital patients.
Medical Treatment. Medical treatment costs are not eligible for
reimbursement under the FEMA Public Assistance Program. For the purposes
of this guidance, “medical treatment” is treatment administered by licensed
physicians and nurses, and is recoverable, directly or indirectly, from private
insurance plans, public insurance plans such as Medicare and Medicaid, from
other forms of Federal, State or local funding, or from sources such as
donations, fund-raising, and the like.
eligible for FEMA
reimbursement are only those costs that result from the evacuation,
transportation, and housing of SN people and required staff at the shelter
location, and the return/reentry of SN evacuees and staff, as further described
in this guidance document.
(a) Only State and
local governments, private nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes or
authorized tribal organizations that own or operate qualifying medical
facilities under 44 CFR 206.221(a)(5) are eligible applicants.
housing costs incurred by the sheltering facility should be claimed through the
applicant who evacuated its facility or who sponsored the evacuation of SN
Eligible Facilities. Only facilities designated or approved by the
State or Parish government as eligible SN evacuation
facilities and that are located in the disaster area are eligible for
reimbursement of SN sheltering costs.
Eligibility of Straight-Time, Overtime and “Emergency Pay.”
(a) Straight Time
Wages. 44 CFR 206.228(a)(4) makes the straight or regular time wages,
salaries and benefits of an applicant’s permanently employed personnel
performing emergency work not eligible for FEMA reimbursement.
(b) Overtime Wages
of permanently employed personnel performing emergency work are eligible for
FEMA reimbursement. For
the purposes of determining the circumstances under which employees are eligible
for overtime pay, FEMA may rely on an applicant’s written policies and union
contracts as they apply to normal, non-disaster circumstances. In no
event, however, will FEMA reimburse employee compensation paid for the first
forty (40) hours of emergency work during a consecutive seven (7) pay period or
for the first eight (8) hours worked on any single day that would normally be
paid at the straight time rate. In addition, overtime wages are only
eligible for reimbursement for employees actually engaged in performing work
eligible under FEMA’s regulations and policies.
FEMA will not reimburse
overtime pay for exempt employees unless such employees are paid overtime pay
during normal, non-disaster circumstances.
(c) Emergency Pay.
(i) When an applicant closes its facilities following a declaration of an
emergency by the State or the local government but requires that essential
personnel report to work and perform eligible emergency work during the facility
closure pursuant to an existing written policy or union contract,
will reimburse the Emergency Pay of non-exempt essential personnel to a limit of
one and one-half (1 ½ ) times an employee’s regular hourly base pay for hours
worked during the facility closure.
(ii) FEMA will reimburse Emergency Pay for exempt employees required to
work during the facility closure at an hourly rate not in excess of one-times an
exempt employee’s regular base salary calculated on an hourly basis, but only
for exempt employees whose duties are not executive or professional in nature.
(iii) Pay that
compensates personnel for time not actually worked, such as standby, on-call, or
rest period pay, is not eligible for reimbursement. Pay in addition to
normal hourly pay that compensates an employee for actual eligible work
performed, such a shift differential pay, is eligible for reimbursement.
Eligible Costs/Eligible Work
Only costs directly related
to SN evacuations and sheltering are eligible for reimbursement.
FEMA’s regulations require
that it reimburse only costs that it deems reasonable.
(i) An applicant’s
reimbursement request must account for costs incurred in preparing, evacuating,
and returning SN people and staff separately from costs incurred to house
SN people and staff at the sheltering facility.
(ii) An applicant’s
reimbursement request must include the number of SN people evacuated and housed
at the sheltering facility, the name and location of the sheltering facility,
and the beginning and ending dates of the evacuation.
(iii) An applicant’s
reimbursement request for staff compensation must describe the duties performed
by each staff member or by type of staff (custodial, security, etc.) being
claimed. Claims for staff housing costs must be accompanied by third party
FEMA will only reimburse the overtime or Emergency Pay – but not both - of staff
performing non-medical services and who are reasonably required for the
following types of work -
evacuate and assisting in the evacuation of SN people;
non-medical direct assistance to SN people, including “Adult Daily Living”
assistance, in preparation, evacuation, and sheltering of SN evacuees;
and returning SN people to their evacuated location.
Consumable and non-consumable supplies are eligible for FEMA reimbursement only
to the extent they exceed normal day-to-day usage in non-disaster situations.
Eligible costs include the costs of transporting SN people to the sheltering
facility and returning them to their evacuated location, including the costs of
private commercial carriers. The cost of ambulance services is eligible,
but only after a licensed physician has certified that an evacuee’s medical
condition is likely to deteriorate if transported by less costly means.
Applicants must require the ambulance service to apply for Medicare/Medicaid
reimbursement for any situations that qualify for such assistance.
reasonable and necessary costs incurred by the sheltering facility directly
related to the eligible activities in sections 4 and 5 of this document may be
eligible for reimbursement. Consumable and non-consumable supplies are eligible
reimbursement only to the extent they exceed normal day-to-day usage in
non-disaster situations. Non medical staff compensation costs may be eligible
but only for the additional hours worked due to the increased patient population
resulting from the SN evacuees.
circumstances where a hospital is designated and used as a SN Shelter, FEMA will
reimburse the eligible costs of sheltering the evacuees under the provisions and
limitations of this policy, which includes the prohibition against
reimbursement of medical treatment costs. The sheltering costs discussed
in this document are eligible only for evacuees who are not admitted as hospital