October 8, 2017
HHS Acting Secretary Wright declares public health emergencies in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi due to Hurricane Nate
Following President Trump’s emergency declarations for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Don Wright, M.D., M.P.H., today declared public health emergencies in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Nate made landfall in the Gulf Coast states. The declarations allow HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to take action that gives beneficiaries and their healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs.
"As communities in our Gulf Coast states are facing Hurricane Nate, HHS is ready to provide critical support to our fellow citizens in need,” said HHS Acting Secretary Wright, M.D. “The public health emergency declarations for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi will help ensure our department’s continued ability to protect access to healthcare – particularly for those with Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. HHS assets and personnel will also continue to assist state and local authorities in getting aid to those individuals and families impacted by these storms.”
In addition to increasing the flexibilities in how CMS helps beneficiaries in the path of Hurricane Nate, HHS located two 250 bed federal medical stations in Louisiana to support any of the impacted communities along the Gulf Coast. Additionally, HHS’ Disaster Medical Assistance teams (DMATs) are on alert to assist if needed in the response.
Acting Secretary Wright acted under his authority in the Public Health Service Act and Social Security Act. These actions and flexibilities for Louisiana are effective October 5, 2017; for Alabama and Mississippi they are effective October 6, 2017; and for Florida, they are effective October 7, 2017.