GAC: Budgeting for Isolation or Quarantine during a Public Health Emergency

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about budgeting for isolation or quarantine during a public health emergency. See the COVID-19 Guidance spreadsheet for program-specific guidance.

What funds are available for local and tribal public health departments (LTPHD) in Wisconsin to be reimbursed for expenses related to isolating or quarantining persons outside their homes?

Wis. Stat. § 252.06(10)(c), provides that, unless federal funds are used, a sum sufficient from state General Purpose Revenue (GPR) will pay “…all expenses incurred by a local health department, or by an entity designated as a local health department by a federally recognized American Indian tribe or band in this state, in quarantining a person outside his or her home during a state of emergency.”

There is a clinical difference between “isolation” and “quarantine?” Will GPR pay for both?

Clinically speaking, the term “isolation” refers to separating sick people from people who are not sick; “quarantine” refers to separating people who may not be infected, but have been exposed to the disease. While Wis. Stat. § 252.06(10)(c) only uses the term “quarantine”, expenses incurred under the definition of both terms are eligible so long as the persons are isolated/quarantined outside of their homes.

What costs are eligible to be reimbursed to my LTPHD?

All non-capital expenses for isolation/quarantine may be reimbursed as they are incurred. Equipment and other capital expenditures over $5,000 may be allowable with prior approval in writing by the Department of Health Services (DHS).

Will these funds pay for expenses by the Sheriff’s Department, or other agencies supporting these isolation/quarantine efforts?

Expenses must be incurred by the LTPHD in order to be reimbursed by these funds. Any procurement or subcontracting should be consistent with state rules.

How can an LTPHD request reimbursement for these isolation/quarantine expenses?

For local health departments: Through submission of a CARS expense report under Profile 105000. Go to the CARS webpage for information.

For tribal health departments: Through submission of a CARS expense report under Profile 65598. Go to the CARS webpage for information.

Are there federal funds available to meet isolation/quarantine expenses?

Limited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds have been awarded to the Division of Public Health (DPH) which will be allocated to LTPHD which may be used for incident management for early crisis response, including emergency operations and coordination and responder safety and health. However, those funds are also meant to cover other expenses for which GPR funds may not be available; therefore, the federal monies may be better spent outside of isolation/quarantine activities.

If a facility accepts patients across a region, can the LTPHD that stood up the facility claim all costs regardless of the residence of the people who use the facility?

Yes, residency does not matter. The LTPHD incurring the costs may claim the costs regardless of the residency of those in the facility.

If the facility was used for asymptomatic contacts to a case for them to isolate for 14 days would that type of facility be eligible for funding?

Yes, the LTPHD can claim for that person. If the LTPHD determines that the person needs to be quarantined, then it can claim costs for serving that person.

If the facility was used for high risk people to contract or spread COVID-19 (such as homeless people), would that type of facility be eligible?

Yes, the LTPHD can claim for that person. If the LTPHD determines that the person needs to be quarantined, then it can claim costs for serving that person.

Does the LTPHD need an approved budget prior to incurring these expenses?

No, although DPH may request budgets be prepared in order to help determine the extent of costs for planning purposes.

How does an LTPHD budget for quarantine?

One approach is to estimate the cost for quarantining sites, rather than number of people. For example, the LTPHD might identify a number of existing facilities or areas to stand up facilities, and then estimate the costs to provide the necessary services to those areas, such as law enforcement or private security to ensure isolation; rental fees, if necessary, for temporary lodging; travel and supplies costs associated with providing support to the quarantined (medical and food); and transportation to and from those areas for essential staff to provide necessary care. For the purposes of budgeting, best guesses should be based on an annual cost. For the emergency quarantine funds (GPR), for the purposes of budgetary planning, the period 3/12/20 thru 3/11/21 should be used, although the end date is subject to change depending on the length of the public health emergency, which is currently set to end 5/11/20 unless extended by the legislature.

If an LTPHD leases or rents rooms at a hotel in anticipation of quarantining people, but ultimately does not quarantine anyone, will those lease or rent costs be reimbursable?

Yes. Ensure all receipts and paperwork clearly indicate the expenses were for quarantine preparedness.

I have more questions – who can I contact?

Other questions related to eligible payments to LTPHD may be directed to Chris Gjestson.


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Last Revised: April 9, 2020