A public health emergency was declared for Florida on Thursday ahead of Hurricane Irma.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made the declaration and took action that gives HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs.
“Hurricane Irma has proven to be highly destructive and poses a significant threat to the health and safety of all Americans in its path,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “HHS has pre-positioned assets and personnel who can rapidly deploy to assist local responses in Florida to Hurricane Irma, and this declaration will help ensure that access to care is maintained for those with Medicare and Medicaid.”
Public health emergencies were also declared for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
Price spoke with Gov. Rick Scott about HHS’ effort to help after the hurricane. The emergency declaration will increasing the flexibility in providing services to, and assistance for, CMS beneficiaries. The agency also deployed more than 80 people to affected areas to help state and local authorities plan and respond to the medical needs of communities.
Similar declarations were made for Texas and Louisiana for Hurricane Harvey.
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