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CMS Responds to Hurricane Michael Public Health Emergency

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued blanket waivers for Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements for Florida and Georgia.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the two states.

For Florida, CMS issued a state-specific Section 1812(f) waiver for Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities and a Medicaid provider enrollment disaster relief waiver. CMS also issued a Section 1812(f) waiver for Georgia.

Additionally, CMS is offering a special enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries and for select individuals seeking health plans through the federal health insurance marketplace who were affected by the hurricane. The agency suspended requirements for Medicare beneficiaries seeking replacement medical equipment and supplies, as well as temporarily halted survey and enforcement activities for health care facilities that do not pose an immediate threat to patient health and safety.

The agency also activated the Kidney Community Emergency Response program to provide dialysis services and released a disaster response toolkit that compiles Medicaid and CHIP flexibilities and authorities for state Medicaid agencies.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.