EMT's in Pa. say they were left out of grants for frontline workers and essential employees

NARBERTH, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The fight for funds amid the coronavirus pandemic is playing out across the state of Pennsylvania.

Emergency Medical Technicians say they have been left out a multi-million dollar grant that is meant for workers putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus.

Multiple frontline employers and essential employers applied for the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is a reimbursement-based grant for employers offering hazard pay during part of the pandemic.

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It is administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development. According to Governor Wolf, grant funds can be used for hazard pay for direct, full-time and part-time employees earning less than $20/hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime for the 10-week period from August 16, 2020, through October 24, 2020.
Despite the extra work EMT's have been putting in during the pandemic, not one EMT agency in the state received an award from Wolf's $50 million grant.

"The fact that we were not recognized as essential when honestly we're the ones walking into your houses, we're the one meeting those COVID patients," said Albert Davey, the executive director of Narberth Ambulance.

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Davey took the time to apply, but never saw a dime from the relief fund, while some daycare and healthcare employers did, to name a few.

"Everybody's important, the idea that if they had split it evenly or at least given us a slice of what was there that, would have made us feel like we were part of the solution," said Davey.

"I am shocked," said Monique Rice, the president of Ann's Professional Home Care in Ardmore.

Down the street from Narberth Ambulance, Rice was able to receive the award for her employees. She said she's shocked EMT's did not receive it, given they do similar work to her employees, stepping into people's homes.

"It is a major risk going in someone's home," said Rice.
Rice said she's surprised EMT's weren't on the list.

"We all do the same work," said Rice, "I wish that everyone could have received it."

However, Governor Wolf said he's hoping the federal government comes through with some more funding to help plug budget gaps.

"We're limited in what we can do with the funds that we have right now," said Wolf.

There is a COVID-19 Fire, Rescue, and EMS Grant that departments like Narberth applied for. However, they are waiting to see if they will be awarded.

You can view the list of awardees here: https://dced.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/COVID-19-PA-Hazard-Pay-Grant-Program_Funding_List_20200814.pdf
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