U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced $117,491,412 in federal funding to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) for Sandy-related damages to Bellevue Hospital. The funding, via Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance program, will reimburse HHC for permanent repairs to the hospital conducted immediately following Superstorm Sandy, as well as some rebuilding plans still in design.
Reimbursement will go towards completed repairs to all electrical vaults and switchgear, automatic transfer switches and panel boxes, which have been replaced at levels higher than the 500-year event. Completed repairs also include those to air handlers, elevators, steam lines, locker rooms, security systems, and construction on the morgue and medical supply storage departments. Reimbursement will go also towards repairs currently under design, including: replacement of emergency generator, raising the fuel pumps, and work on the domestic water and medical gases.
“Bellevue Hospital is a cornerstone of New York’s public health care system and it was absolutely hammered by Superstorm Sandy, which left overwhelming damage in its wake. It was essential that FEMA provide this reimbursement to Bellevue and HHC for the critical damage repairs and rebuilding that will help these facilities withstand similar threats in the future and ensure they can continue to provide care to countless New Yorkers,” said Schumer.
“Bellevue Hospital, which suffered enormous damage, provided critical emergency help during and after the storm to aid New Yorkers,” said Gillibrand. “With this funding, Bellevue Hospital will be reimbursed for important emergency repairs to help fully restore the hospital to its pre-disaster condition.”
Dr. Ram Raju, HHC President and CEO, said: “We are grateful to Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and FEMA for this much needed funding, which covers the millions we have already invested at Bellevue Hospital in response and restoration work immediately following Sandy. Thanks to this upfront investment, and the extraordinary efforts of our staff, our hospitals were able to return to service quickly. But they are still vulnerable. We look forward to receiving additional FEMA funds very soon for long-term mitigation that will protect our critically needed HHC hospitals including Coney Island, Bellevue, Metropolitan and Coler.”
As a direct result of Superstorm Sandy, widespread damages occurred to Bellevue Hospital Center. Due to the magnitude of the damages, 727 patients were evacuated and emergency repairs were performed day and night in order to restore full patient services in 99 days. The facility’s 203,000 square feet basement flooded to depths ranging from 5 to 8 feet and several sub-basements were inundated with millions of gallons of water. Most of the facility’s electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems were located in the basement.
Bellevue is the oldest continuously operating hospital in America and traces its roots back to 1736. Bellevue is located adjacent to the East River which puts it in the 100 year floodplain zone. Bellevue is owned and operated by HHC, which operates the public hospital system in New York City including 11 hospitals, four nursing homes, six diagnostic centers, and more than 70 community-based primary care sites.