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CMS Announces Efforts to Support Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands with Hurricane Maria Emergency Response

Date
2017-09-21
Title
CMS Announces Efforts to Support Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands with Hurricane Maria Emergency Response
Contact
press@cms.hhs.gov

CMS Announces Efforts to Support Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands with Hurricane Maria Emergency Response

Agency grants waivers and helps patients evacuated access safe facilities for care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma today announced the efforts that are underway to support Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria. After Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., declared new public health emergencies in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this week, CMS has waived or modified certain Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements to provide immediate relief to those affected by the hurricane. CMS also helped patients being evacuated get access to critical life-saving services. 

“We are deeply concerned about the devastating impact Hurricane Maria has had on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Administrator Verma. “CMS is working diligently across the agency to provide immediate relief to those impacted and to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to the life-saving treatments they need. We will continue to be proactive and monitor the needs of the local governments to make sure hospitals, providers, and suppliers can continue to provide care.”

As part of ongoing efforts to support the federal response in hurricane-impacted areas, CMS worked with local governments, facilities and providers to help evacuated patients get needed access to dialysis treatment. CMS helped coordinate with facilities to make sure there were medical professionals on site and ready to provide immediate dialysis care and shelter for these patients. Access to care for people living with renal diseases and disorders is critical and often require life-sustaining dialysis treatments several times per week. CMS continues to work with Puerto Rico to prepare for additional evacuations as the need arises. CMS is also assisting the U.S. Virgin Islands with evacuation of dialysis patients and other patients from a hospital in St. Croix.

The agency continues to update its emergency page (www.cms.gov/emergency) with important information for state and local officials, providers, healthcare facilities, suppliers and the public.

To read previous updates regarding HHS activities related to these hurricanes, please visit https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/hurricane-response/index.html

To learn more about HHS resources related to Hurricanes Maria and Irma, please visit www.phe.gov/emergency 

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