Skip to content

CMS Announces Resources and Flexibilities After Hurricane Idalia

CMS Announces Resources and Flexibilities After Hurricane Idalia

Medicare Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced additional resources and flexibility measures in response to Hurricane Idalia in Florida. CMS is collaborating closely with the State of Florida to implement these measures, ensuring that individuals affected by this natural disaster can access the necessary health care services when they need them most.

On August 28, 2023, President Biden declared a state of emergency in Florida due to the emergency conditions caused by Hurricane Idalia, which began on August 27, 2023, and continues. Additionally, on August 30, 2023, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) in Florida, effective since August 27, 2023.

Here is essential information and the actions CMS is taking in response to Hurricane Idalia in Florida:

  • State of Florida Waivers: CMS is providing waivers to health care providers in Florida affected by Hurricane Idalia. Health care providers needing additional flexibility due to the hurricane's effects can submit requests to CMS here.
  • Special Enrollment Opportunities for Hurricane Victims: CMS is offering special enrollment periods for eligible individuals to enroll in coverage through the Federal Health Insurance Exchange. This opportunity allows hurricane-impacted individuals to enroll in coverage even if they missed their original special enrollment period. More information can be found here and here.
  • Disaster Toolkit and Support for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies: CMS has developed an inventory of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) flexibilities and authorities for states to use during disasters. This ensures the continuity of Medicaid and CHIP coverage during crisis situations. Access the inventory and toolkit here.
  • Dialysis Care: CMS is facilitating access to life-saving services, including dialysis, through the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) program and coordination with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network 7. ESRD Network 7 is assessing the status of dialysis facilities in potentially affected areas of Florida and helping patients receive dialysis services at their evacuation locations. CMS advises individuals to maintain an emergency supply kit with essential information. The ESRD Network 7 (Florida) toll-free hotline is 800-826-3773. More details are available on the KCER website.
  • Medical Equipment and Supplies Replacements: Medicare beneficiaries who have lost or damaged durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, or supplies due to the hurricane can receive replacements. Call (800) MEDICARE (800-633-4227) for assistance.
  • Health Information Privacy/Civil Rights Accessibility Resources: During a PHE, the HHS Secretary may waive sanctions and penalties related to the HIPAA Privacy Rule for covered hospitals in the emergency area and during the emergency period. More information on HIPAA during emergency responses is available through the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) website.
  • Language Assistance and Communication: To ensure accessibility to health and human services for all individuals, including those requiring interpretation and translation services, the HHS OCR provides resources, including a plain language checklist with recommendations and action steps. Additional information can be found on the HHS OCR website.

CMS will continue to collaborate with the State of Florida and the affected areas to provide assistance. Beneficiaries and health care service providers impacted by the hurricane can seek help by visiting CMS’s emergency preparedness webpage.

Powered By GrowthZone