CMS Announces Resources and Flexibilities to Assist with the Public Health Emergency in the State of Mississippi Due to Recent Storms
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today additional resources and flexibilities available in response to the recent severe storms in Mississippi. CMS is working closely with Mississippi to put these flexibilities in place to ensure those affected by this natural disaster have access to the care they need – when they need it most.
On March 27, 2023, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra determined that a Public Health Emergency exists in Mississippi as the result of the continued consequences of severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds, and tornadoes.
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 severe storm outbreak.
The following is key information and resources for those affected and actions CMS is taking in response to the severe storm outbreak in Mississippi:
State of Mississippi Waivers: CMS waivers are available to providers in Mississippi who have been affected by the Severe Storm Outbreak and remain affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care providers who need additional flexibilities specific to the Severe Storm Outbreak can submit a request to CMS here: https://cmsqualitysupport.servicenowservices.com/cms_1135. All non-COVID-19 emergency waivers can be found here: https://www.cms.gov/current-non-covid-emergencies.
Disaster Toolkit and Support for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies: To prepare for current and future disasters, CMS has developed 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 through Medicaid and CHIP programs during times of crisis. More information and access the inventory and toolkit can be found here: 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 8, who’s contracted area of responsibility includes assessing the status of dialysis facilities in potentially impacted areas of Mississippi. This includes assessing impacts related to generators, alternate water supplies, education and providing materials for patients, and more. ESRD Network 8 is also assisting people to receive dialysis services in the location to which they evacuated. CMS, through ESRD Network 8, has also advised people to keep an emergency supply kit on hand in a water proof bag, including important personal, medical, and insurance information; contact information for their facility; the ESRD NW hotline number; and contact information of those with whom they may stay or for out-of-state contacts. They have also been instructed to have on hand supplies to follow a three-day emergency diet.
The ESRD NW 8 (Mississippi) toll-free hotline is 877-936-9260.
Additional information is available on the KCER website, here: 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 as a result of the severe storms to receive replacements of such items and services. This will help to ensure beneficiaries can continue to access the needed medical equipment and supplies they rely on each day. Medicare beneficiaries can contact 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for assistance.
CMS will continue to work with Mississippi and those areas impacted by the recent storms. We encourage beneficiaries and providers of healthcare services that have been impacted to seek help by visiting CMS’s emergency webpage, which can be found here:www.cms.gov/emergency.
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.
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 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.