CMS Helping Texas and Louisiana with Hurricane Harvey Recovery

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Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented rainfall and flooding to Texas, and the storm continued its devastation in Louisiana as tropical storm Harvey.

On August 30, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the efforts underway to support these states in light of the earlier announced public health emergencies declarations by the U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS). CMS is in constant communication with local officials to support those in need.

Support in Renal Dialysis Facilities

CMS and HHS are working with Texas and Louisiana as well as the Kidney Community Emergency Response Network to make sure that beneficiaries have access to facilities for treatments. Other support includes arranging for Special Purpose Renal Dialysis Facilities, transporting patients to facilities and arranging for new facilities to open so services can continue without interruption.

The agency is also accepting requests from end stage renal disease suppliers to become a temporary Special Purpose Renal Dialysis Facility.

Waivers of Certain Requirements for Specific Types of Providers

CMS has offered important and immediate administrative relief actions to Texas and Louisiana, including issuing waivers to prevent gaps in access care for beneficiaries. These general waivers apply to certain requirements for specific types of providers in the impacted counties and geographical areas.

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities: Requirements are waived for a 3-day prior hospitalization before admission in order to receive these Medicare services. Temporary emergency coverage of these services are covered without a qualifying hospital stay for those who are evacuated, transferred or otherwise dislocated due to Harvey. Also, certain people with Medicare benefits who recently exhausted their skilled nursing facility benefits are authorized for renewed coverage without having to start a new benefit period.
  • Home Health Agencies: The CMS waiver provides relief to these agencies on timeframes related to completion of assessment data (OASIS) transmission.
  • Critical Access Hospitals: The requirements limiting the number of patient beds to 25 is waived, and length of stays beyond the capped 96-hour time period are allowed.

Because of the public health emergency, CMS can also waive or modify certain Medicare provisions for providers including certain deadlines, conditions of participation and certification requirements. Providers can submit waiver requests to the state survey agency or the CMS regional office and they will be evaluated to make sure that they meet the requirements under the law.

More Resources

CMS emergency page with important information for state and local officials, providers, healthcare facilities and the public.

Previous HHS updates and resources related to Hurricane Harvey.

Specific Harvey and Medicare disaster related provider claims information for Texas and Louisiana.

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