HHS Declares Health Emergencies in Indiana & Iowa

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt declared public health emergencies earlier this week in Indiana and Iowa, which have been devastated by severe storms and flooding.

The declarations are meant to give Medicare beneficiaries and providers greater flexibility when it comes to the usual eligibility and documentation requirements.

A statement released Wednesday, June 18, by the Jurisdiction B DME MAC said, "Because of flood damage to local health-care facilities, many beneficiaries have been evacuated to neighboring communities, where receiving hospitals and nursing homes may have no health-care records, information on current health status or even verification of the person's status as a Medicare beneficiary. CMS is assuring those facilities that in this circumstance, the normal burden of documentation will be waived and that they can act under a presumption of eligibility."

For more information about Medicare policies for beneficiaries affected by the flooding, click HERE.

For answers to frequently asked questions, including information regarding the replacement of DME lost or damaged due to the disaster, click HERE.

Said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Kerry Weems, "In emergencies such as this, CMS has the flexibility to ensure that vital health care services can be maintained and utilized. Many of the agency's normal operating procedures will be relaxed to speed provision of health-care services to the elderly and persons with disabilities who depend upon these services."

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