Governor announces $100M grant program for EMS, with federal CARES funds

Gov. Tony Evers

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday a $100 million grant program funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that will help facilities providing different kinds of care amid the pandemic.

In a news release, Evers said the funding will support Wisconsin providers emergency medical services, home and community-based services and long-term care providers such as skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities. These providers are most at-risk for financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the news release.

“We recognize the significant burden the COVID-19 response has placed on these providers,” Evers said in the release. “We also recognize the integral role they play in ensuring the health and safety of some of our most vulnerable Wisconsinites and we want to support their efforts during this pandemic.”

The grant program will be administered in two parts: an initial release of funds to support immediate needs, and a second, targeted release for additional needs of individual providers, the governor’s office said. Both rounds of funding support expenses directly related to COVID-19 as well as expenses associated with the interruption of typical operations, such as overtime pay, changes to sanitation procedures, and disruption to the standard delivery of care.

Evers said EMS providers and care facilities included in the grant program are experiencing significant challenges as pandemic-related expenses like purchasing personal protective equipment and retaining workers have increased operating costs. The CARES funding will help the network continue providing essential services and protecting people most at risk from the virus.

Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said the money will help maintain quality care.

“The services they provide save lives on a daily basis, and that is especially true during this pandemic,” Palm said in the release.