September 8, 2017
Secretary Price Meets with Top HHS Leaders for Hurricane Briefings
On Friday, September 8, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., held a series of meetings with top HHS officials to discuss Harvey recovery efforts and the current status of preparation for Hurricane Irma.
The meetings included Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Dr. Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; John Bardis, Assistant Secretary for Administration; Dr. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service; Gopal Khanna, Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration; George Sigounas, Administrator, Health Resources and Service Administration; Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use; Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs; Steven Wagner, Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families; RADM Chris Buchanan, Deputy Director, Indian Health Service; Lance Robertson, Assistant Secretary for Aging; Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health.
The HHS officials attended a briefing in the Secretary’s Operations Center (SOC) on the current Harvey response status, differences between Harvey and Irma, and what to expect over the next few days as Hurricane Irma continues to move towards the east coast.
After the briefing from the SOC, Secretary Price held a meeting with leaders of HHS’s operating and staff divisions to be further briefed on their respective recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana and preparation and response activities in regards to Hurricane Irma. Topics ranged from the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) focus on crop concerns to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) work addressing the mental health needs for both hurricane victims and first responders. Secretary Price acknowledged the impact this storm is having on both those who live in the affected areas as well as the staff and volunteers who are in the line of duty. CMS Administrator Seema Verma highlighted the need to expedite Medicare and Medicaid waivers, and the Department’s continued mission of locating and supporting the needs of dialysis patients utilizing geolocation technology. CDC Director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, added that recovery efforts are going well in the Gulf, as is coordination between those deployed for Hurricane Irma.
Secretary Price ended the briefing by thanking his staff for their dedication as they settle into a long response and recovery period.