FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2010
Contact: HHS Press Office
HHS Declares Public Health Emergency for North Dakota Floods
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has declared a public health emergency for North Dakota in response to floods affecting the state. The action ensures beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) receive benefits during this emergency time period.
The public health emergency declaration follows President Obama’s March 14 emergency declaration for North Dakota and is retroactive to Feb. 26 to align with the presidential declaration which was also retroactive to that date.
The public health emergency was declared so that certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements could be temporarily waived or modified to assist the state in flood response efforts. The state can submit waiver requests through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Office.
The Secretary’s action provides the flexibility to maintain vital health care services, such as allowing Medicare health plan beneficiaries to go out of network during this emergency. CMS is working with the health insurance industry to ensure there are no barriers to this service for those enrolled in these plans.
The action also provides the authority to temporarily relax certain procedures so health care services can be delivered. Among these is allowing critical access hospitals to take more than the statutorily mandated limit of 25 patients and not count the expected longer lengths of stay for evacuated patients against the 96-hour average.
HHS is pre-positioning medical equipment and supplies near the flood zone to support the state’s medical needs during the emergency. HHS personnel are on alert to assist with health and human service needs if requested.
The declaration is available at http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/phe.html. The 1135 waiver is available at http://www.hhs.gov/disasters/emergency/naturaldisasters/flood/northdakota/nd1135-100319.html. HHS flood preparedness information is also online at http://www.hhs.gov/disasters/emergency/naturaldisasters/flood/index.html and North Dakota Flood Preparedness Information can be found at http://www.nd.gov/des/get/flood-preparedness.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011