CMS suspends rules for flood victims in Iowa, Indiana

6/17/2008

WASHINGTON In response to the condition of the flood-stricken states of Iowa and Indiana, Health and Human Services secretary Michael Leavitt has declared a public health emergency. This action gives the HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare beneficiaries and their healthcare providers greater flexibility in meeting emergency needs.

Some of the actions that CMS will undertake to help meet the needs of Medicare beneficiaries are: For the Medicare Part D prescription benefit, CMS will ensure that rules that prevent early refills are waived. This will assist those beneficiaries who left prescriptions in evacuated homes or lost their prescription during the evacuation. Beneficiaries in health plans will be allowed 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 in plans. And, CMS will be working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to manage lost, stolen, or left behind Durable Medical Equipment.

“The flooding in Iowa and Indiana is devastating to each individual and to their communities,” Leavitt said. “This designation will allow HHS to immediately assist our beneficiaries and providers in the areas where hospitals and other health care delivery systems have been disrupted. It will help ensure that medical assistance is provided promptly and effectively.”

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