Tester Secures Nearly $6 Million in Pandemic Relief Funds for Montana

Federal funds will reimburse state for COVID-19 public health efforts

To help offset costs incurred through Montana’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, today announced the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will receive $5,713,604 in federal reimbursements through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. Tester secured an additional $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund as part of the Coronavirus, Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which he helped negotiate and pass into law in March.

“Montanans look out for one another, so as this virus hit, it’s no surprise that Governor Bullock quickly stepped up to the plate to provide supplies, protective equipment, and public health information to help keep folks healthy,” said Tester. “But while we can’t put a price on public safety, the costs incurred by our state during this pandemic are very real—and the federal government must continue providing assistance to states that have borne the brunt of this crisis. I’ll keep holding the Administration accountable to ensure the Treasure State has the resources necessary to continue combating this virus and keeping folks safe.”

In response to the immediate threat to the health and safety of the general public created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Montana DPHHS expedited the purchase and distribution of materials to provide medical care for COVID-19 patients, including critical supplies and personal protective equipment. In addition, Montana DPHHS disseminated public health information to Tribal governments, providing focused attention to native wellness in the context of the pandemic.

FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund will reimburse Montana DPHHS $5,713,604 of the $7,618,138 in total costs of the State’s protective measures, totaling 75 percent in federal cost sharing.

Tester has worked relentlessly to bolster public health in Montana and to ensure the state is equipped to handle the COVID-19 crisis. He recently announced nearly $2 million for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Laboratory to help with testing and immunization support. He also secured $3 million for 14 Montana community health centers to expand COVID-19 testing, and delivered nearly $200 million in relief funding for 121 rural Montana hospitals, health centers, and clinics. In addition, Tester has fought to hold the Trump Administration accountable to Montana and ensure that critically-needed supplies for front line health care workers go where they are needed most, leading his colleagues in urging Trump to increase production and distribution of personal protective equipment and improve the nation’s contact tracing capacity.