Paramedics and emergency medical technicians are the professionals who make ambulances a key part of emergency healthcare.
Now they are running short of federal funding that was appropriated to keep them operating during the coronavirus crisis.
Although President Donald Trump promised Newsmax earlier this month that he would “certainly look into it,” several ambulance professionals and their representatives have since told us they have seen none of the operating funds in question from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Unless the $2.62 billion that the American Ambulance Association and other groups insist their people desperately need comes through, many of these professionals won’t be able to function much longer.
At a news conference on Aug. 5, Newsmax cited complaints to Trump from the ambulance professionals that they have received only $300 million of the critically needed compensation. This funding comes from the Provider Relief Fund, or PRF, created under the CARES Act to financially support those in the forefront of fighting COVID-19.
“I just heard of it for the first time,” the president told us. “The ambulance people have done an incredible job.”
Trump went on to hail ambulance professionals as people who have done “a tough job. Very dangerous, very tough.”
Promising to “certainly look into it [the issue of non-payment for the ambulance professionals],” Trump underscored that “you are telling me something for the first time. Nobody is complaining about not getting paid too much. We will take a look.”
More than three weeks later, there has been no movement on the $2.62 billion for the ambulance professionals, which would come out of the $175 billion appropriated for the PRF.
Newsmax contacted the office of HHS Secretary Alex Azar. We also called Deputy HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, whose office oversees the Health Resources and Services Administration directly responsible for distributing PRF funds.
Neither has so far replied to us.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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