CMS Announces Resources and Flexibilities to Assist with the Public Health Emergency in Hawaii Due to Recent Wildfires
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today additional resources and flexibilities available in response to the recent wildfires in the State of Hawaii. CMS is working closely with Hawaii to put these flexibilities in place to ensure those affected by these wildfires have access to the care they need – when they need it most.
On August 11, 2023, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra determined that a Public Health Emergency exists in the State of Hawaii due to the wildfires beginning on August 8, 2023, and continuing.
CMS stands ready to assist with resources and waivers to ensure hospitals and other facilities can continue to operate and provide access to care to those impacted by the consequences of the wildfire.
The following is key information and resources for those affected and actions CMS is taking in response to the effects of the wildfires in Hawaii:
Hawaii Waivers: Health care providers who need additional flexibilities specific to the effects of wildfires can submit a request to CMS here: https://cmsqualitysupport.servicenowservices.com/cms_1135.
Disaster Toolkit and Support for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies: To prepare for current and future disasters, CMS developed a toolkit with an inventory of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) flexibilities and authorities available to states in the event of a disaster to support Medicaid and CHIP operations and ensure continuity of coverage for people served by these programs during times of crisis. For more information and to access the toolkit, visit: https://www.medicaid.gov/state-resource-center/disaster-response-toolkit/index.html.
Dialysis Care: CMS is helping people obtain and maintain access to critical life-saving services by activating the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) program and working with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network 17, whose contracted area of responsibility includes assessing the status of dialysis facilities in potentially impacted areas of Hawaii. This includes assessing impacts related to generators, alternate water supplies, education, providing materials for patients, and more. CMS, through ESRD Network 17, has also advised people to keep an emergency supply kit on hand in a waterproof bag, including important personal, medical, and insurance information; contact information for their facility; the ESRD Network hotline number; and contact information of those with whom they may stay or for out-of-territory contacts. They have also been instructed to have on-hand supplies to follow a three-day emergency diet.
The ESRD Network 17 (Hawaii) toll-free hotline is 800-232-3773.
Additional information is available on the KCER website www.kcercoalition.com
Medical Equipment and Supplies Replacements: CMS will temporarily waive certain requirements to enable people with Medicare who have lost or realized damage to their durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies because of the wildfires to receive replacements of such items and services. This will help ensure that beneficiaries can continue accessing the needed medical equipment and supplies they rely on daily. Medicare beneficiaries can contact 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for assistance.
For information about how the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies in a public health emergency, visit the HHS Office for Civil Rights’ HIPAA Emergency Preparedness, Planning, and Response page at: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/emergency-preparedness/index.html.
For information and resources for emergency responders/officials to help ensure that individuals have equal access to emergency services, including language access and effective communication, please see the HHS Office for Civil Rights’ Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Ensuring Language Access and Effective Communication: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/lang-access-and-effective-comm-checklist-for-emergency-responders.pdf. Additional preparedness and response resources for the health sector and emergency management professionals can be found here: https://aspr.hhs.gov/Tools/Pages/default.aspx.
CMS will continue to work with the State of Hawaii and those areas impacted by the recent wildfire. We encourage beneficiaries and providers of healthcare services that have been impacted to seek help by visiting CMS’s emergency webpage at: www.cms.gov/emergency.
To find additional preparedness and response resources for the health sector and emergency management professionals, please visit: https://www.phe.gov/emergency/Tools/Pages/default.aspx
Contact: CMS Media Relations
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