CHA News Article

State and Federal Governments Strengthen Support for Providers Due to Wildfires
CHA reminds members of disaster response, recovery resources

Due to the wildfires that ravaged California over the last two weeks, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency, retroactive to Nov. 8. In addition, Gov. Brown issued Executive Order B-57-18, which allows the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to waive hospital and clinic licensure requirements for facilities impacted by the fires.

The HHS declaration gives health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health care needs, particularly by allowing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program requirements. The CMS website includes resources to help providers navigate policies and procedures that may be implemented with or without such a waiver, often referred to as a “Section 1135 waiver.” CMS has indicated that it will implement a blanket waiver for skilled-nursing facilities and offer special enrollment periods to beneficiaries impacted by the wildfires, and has provided information for dialysis patients who are unable to receive services at their usual facility.

Waivers granted by the Governor’s Executive Order will be posted on CDPH’s website. CHA is coordinating with the administration and affected hospitals to ensure that health care services resume as quickly as possible.

Members are also encouraged to review CHA’s Continuity of Care in a Disaster webinar, released earlier this year. In addition, hospitals may find helpful information in CHA’s white paper specific to the financial impacts of disasters.