In response to the devastation caused last week by Hurricane Michael, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a temporary waiver for beneficiaries in the state of Georgia.
On Oct. 11, CMS said U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had declared a Public Health Emergency in Georgia, thus paving the way for CMS to temporarily relax some of its usual beneficiary requirements.
In the news announcement, the agency said, “CMS will temporarily suspend certain requirements necessary for Medicare beneficiaries who have lost or sustained damage to their durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies as a result of the hurricane. This will help to make sure that beneficiaries can continue to access the needed medical equipment and supplies they rely on each day.”
Medicare beneficiaries requiring assistance were advised to call (800) MEDICARE.
CMS also waived certain standard requirements regarding hospitals and healthcare facilities, and clinicians’ services as a result of the hurricane.
In an Oct. 11 bulletin to industry members, the American Association for Homecare said, “According to CMS, documentation of face-to-face, physician’s order, and medical necessity will not be required for replacement under this waiver. However, suppliers will still be required to explain the reason the equipment needs to be replaced and keep documentation that shows the equipment was lost, irreparably damaged, destroyed or unusable.”
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Hurricane Michael affected Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, in addition to Georgia. The hurricane was one of the strongest to make landfall in the United States, and multiple news reports said nearly three dozen people were killed in the storm.