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Kaiser Health News:HealthReform - September 11, 2017

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HHS continues buildup of medical support in Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma landfall

HHS Gov News - September 10, 2017

As part of the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to prepare for Hurricane Irma, HHS Secretary Tom Price briefed President Trump and the Cabinet this morning on the work of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in anticipation of Hurricane Irma making landfall, including moving more than 500 medical and related personnel into Orlando, Florida, to assist the state with medical and public health needs when Hurricane Irma makes landfall.

HHS called in seven National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) teams, including community doctors and nurses from around the country, and two teams from U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, to be in place ready to respond when and where needed. The NDMS team members are deploying from Alabama, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

These teams join U.S. Public Health Service officers as well as NDMS medical personal already staged in Orlando from Tennessee, Alabama, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Hawaii. Additional medical teams are on alert to be called in as needed.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration activated the Disaster Distress Helpline, a toll-free call center, (1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746) to aid people in coping with the behavioral health effects of the storm and help people in impacted areas connect with local behavioral health professionals.

HHS also provided data to public health authorities in Florida to assist them in reaching Medicare beneficiaries who rely on electrically powered medical equipment at home. Power outages become life-or-death situations for people with these medical conditions.

HHS remains in regular contact with Florida health officials to maintain awareness of the local situation and stands ready to augment its support to the state as the situation unfolds.

HHS medical teams are providing care at a hospital emergency department on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. HHS and the Department of Defense began evacuating dialysis patients from St. Thomas today, and HHS medical teams are accompanying Urban Search and Rescue teams in locating dialysis patients whom authorities were unable to reach in order to evacuate the patients.

Earlier this week, Secretary  Price, declared public health emergencies for Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has provided blanket waivers to aid Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in receiving care unimpeded in the aftermath of the storm.

The Department is committed to meeting the medical and public health needs of communities across the southeast impacted by Hurricane Irma in the immediate aftermath of the storm and as affected areas recover. Information on health safety tips during and after the hurricane will be provided by the Office of the Assistance Secretary for Preparedness and Response and will be available at www.PHE.gov/Irma

Critical updates will also be available at:

Secretary Price Meets with Top HHS Leaders for Hurricane Briefings

HHS Gov News - September 09, 2017

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.

HHS Secretary Price declares public health emergencies in Georgia and South Carolina due to Hurricane Irma

HHS Gov News - September 09, 2017

Following President Trump’s emergency declarations for Georgia and South Carolina, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., today declared public health emergencies in Georgia and South Carolina as Hurricane Irma tracks toward the southeastern 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.

“Hurricane Irma has already begun to carve a path of destruction and continues to pose a significant threat to public health and safety as it makes its way along the southeastern United States,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “Through these public health emergency declarations for Georgia and South Carolina, we are helping ensure that people in those states with Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can maintain access to care. HHS medical teams are prepared to support states and U.S. territories respond to Hurricane Irma.”

Secretary Price declared public health emergencies for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday and for Florida on Thursday related to Hurricane Irma. The Secretary spoke this week with state and territory governors in the path of the hurricane to update them on all HHS resources available to help them keep their residents healthy.

In addition to increasing the flexibilities in how CMS helps beneficiaries in the path of Hurricane Irma, HHS has deployed more than 230 personnel to support state and local authorities in affected areas plan and respond to local communities’ medical needs. Additional HHS staff is on standby to assist in the response.

The declarations of public health emergencies due to Hurricane Irma follow similar public health emergency declarations for Texas and Louisiana that Secretary Price signed to help residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. Secretary Price acted under his authority in the Public Health Service Act and Social Security Act.

These actions and flexibilities are effective retroactively to Sept. 7, 2017, for Georgia and Sept. 6, 2017, for South Carolina.

Public health and safety information for Hurricane Irma can be found at https://www.phe.gov/emergency/events/irma2017/Pages/default.aspx

Secretario Price declara estado de emergencia de salud pública en Georgia y Carolina del Sur a causa del huracán Irma

HHS Gov News - September 09, 2017

Tras las declaraciones de emergencia en Georgia y Carolina del Sur por parte del Presidente Trump, el secretario del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos, Dr. Tom Price, declaró hoy la emergencia de salud pública en Georgia y Carolina del Sur mientras el huracán Irma avanza en su trayectoria por la península. Tras las declaraciones, los Centros de Servicios de Medicare y Medicaid (CMS) dependientes del HHS tomaron medidas para otorgar a los beneficiarios y proveedores de atención médica de la red mayor flexibilidad para la atención de situaciones de emergencia.

“Mientras avanza hacia el sureste de los Estados Unidos, el huracán Irma ha demostrado un alto nivel de destrucción y su paso sigue siendo una gran amenaza para la salud y la seguridad pública”, declaró el secretario del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanitarios, Dr. Tom Price. “Con estas declaraciones de emergencia de salud pública para Georgia y Carolina del Sur, estamos garantizando que los habitantes de esoss estados que tengan Medicare, Medicaid y el Programa de Seguro Médico Infantil (CHIP) puedan acceder a los servicios. Los equipos de HHS están preparados para proporcionar asistencia en los estados y territorios de los Estados Unidos en respuesta al huracán Irma”.

Price, secretario del HHS, declara el estado de emergencia de salud pública en Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU a causa del huracán Irma. Esta semana, el secretario habló con las autoridades de los estados y territorios afectados por el huracán para mantenerlos al tanto sobre todos los recursos de HHS que se han puesto a disposición para asistir a la ciudadanía.

Además de aumentar la flexibilidad para la asistencia a beneficiarios de los CMS tras el paso del huracán Irma, HHS ha designado un grupo de 230 personas a las áreas afectadas para ayudar a las autoridades locales y estatales a planificar y responder a las necesidades médicas de sus comunidades. Y hay más personal de HHS de respaldo esperando para dar respuesta.

Las declaraciones de emergencia sanitaria a causa del huracán Irma están en línea con declaraciones similares en Texas y Luisiana que el Secretario Price firmó para ayudar a los residentes afectados por el huracán Harvey. El Secretario Price actúa en virtud de la autoridad que le confieren la Ley de Salud Pública y la Ley de Seguridad Social.

Estas medidas y flexibilizaciones tienen vigencia en forma retroactiva al 7 de septiembre de 2017 para Georgia, y al 6 de septiembre de 2017 para Carolina del Sur.

Hay información de salud y seguridad con relación al huracán Irma disponible en https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/hurricane_irma.html

HHS Office for Civil Rights Enters Into Agreement with Oklahoma Nursing Home to Protect Patients with HIV/AIDS from Discrimination

HHS Gov News - September 08, 2017

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with Heritage Hills Living & Rehabilitation Center, LLC (Heritage Hills). The Agreement resolves a complaint alleging that Heritage Hills discharged a seriously ill patient from its facility upon learning that she was HIV positive and in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

Heritage Hills is a for-profit, 81-bed, certified skilled nursing facility located in the City of McAlester, in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma. Because Heritage Hills receives Federal financial assistance through its participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, it is subject to the requirements of Section 504 and Section 1557.

Heritage Hills agreed to resolve the complaint after OCR initiated an investigation into whether Heritage Hills discriminated against the complainant’s daughter on the basis of the daughter’s disability (HIV/AIDS) in violation of Section 504 and Section 1557.

Under the Agreement, Heritage Hills will ensure compliance with Section 504 and Section 1557; report admissions and discharge data to OCR for a 12 month period; appoint a Civil Rights Coordinator; publish and post a new non-discrimination policy; implement a new patient grievance procedure and inform patients of their right to file complaints with OCR; require its staff to receive training on HIV/AIDS and Federal non-discrimination obligations; and revise its admissions policy to ensure that all individuals with disabilities, including but not limited to HIV/AIDS, are provided equal access to and an equal opportunity to participate in all programs, benefits and services offered by the facility.

“It is heart-wrenching to see a seriously ill person ejected from a federally-funded medical facility simply because they were HIV positive. Such conduct is not only tragic, it is illegal, and as our investigation and resolution of this complaint demonstrates, OCR is committed to ensuring that persons with disabilities– including those with HIV/AIDS – are afforded equal access to health care,” said Roger Severino, OCR director.

OCR enforces civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion or exercise of conscience. Collectively, Section 504 and Section 1557 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in health programs or activities that receive HHS funding, such as nursing homes and hospitals.

During the last five years, OCR has engaged in more than 200 enforcement and outreach efforts involving HIV/AIDS, including public education campaigns, HIV-related civil rights complaint investigations, HIV-related health information privacy investigations and 12 joint civil rights/health information privacy compliance reviews, which were the subject of OCR’s report, Protecting the Civil Rights and Health Information Privacy of People Living with HIV/AIDS. The report is available at: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/compliance-review-initiative-report-2016.pdf.

Of particular note, OCR has launched an Information is Powerful Medicine public education campaign, which encourages those living with HIV to be proactive in their health care. The campaign explains individuals’ health information privacy rights, including how individuals can monitor and access a copy of their medical records; and is available at http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/special-topics/information-is-powerful-medicine/index.html.

A copy of the voluntary resolution agreement can be found at https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/heritage-resolution-agreement.pdf.

For additional information on OCR’s work on HIV/AIDS issues, visit www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/special-topics/HIV/index.html.

To learn more about non-discrimination and health information privacy laws, and to find information on filing a complaint, visit us at www.hhs.gov/ocr.

Follow OCR on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HHSOCR.

HHS Secretary Price declares public health emergency in Florida due to Hurricane Irma

HHS Gov News - September 08, 2017

Following the lead of President Trump’s emergency declaration for Florida, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., today declared a public health emergency in the state as Hurricane Irma continues its track toward the Florida peninsula. In addition, he has taken action that gives HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) beneficiaries and their healthcare providers and suppliers 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.”

Secretary Price declared public health emergencies for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands due to Hurricane Irma on Wednesday. He also spoke earlier this week with Florida Governor Rick Scott, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Roselló, and U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp to inform them about HHS’ efforts to prepare for the storm and assist their local responses if needed.

In addition to increasing the flexibility in providing services to, and assistance for, CMS beneficiaries, HHS has deployed more than 80 personnel to affected areas to help state and local authorities plan and respond to communities’ medical needs, and additional staff is on standby to assist.

Today’s declaration of a public health emergency for Florida follows similar public health emergency declarations for Texas and Louisiana that Secretary Price signed to help residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. Secretary Price acted under his authority in the Public Health Service Act and Social Security Act.

These actions and flexibilities are effective retroactively to September 4, 2017.

Public health and safety information for Hurricane Irma can be found at https://www.phe.gov/emergency/events/irma2017/Pages/default.aspx

Secretario Price declara estado de emergencia de salud pública en Florida a causa del huracán Irma

HHS Gov News - September 08, 2017

Tras las declaraciones de emergencia en Florida por parte del Presidente Trump, el secretario del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos, Dr. Tom Price, declaró hoy la emergencia de salud pública en Florida mientras el huracán Irma avanza en su trayectoria por la península. Además, tomó medidas para otorgar a los beneficiarios y proveedores de atención médica de la red de los Centros de Servicios de Medicare y Medicaid (CMS) dependientes del HHS mayor flexibilidad para la atención de situaciones de emergencia.

“El huracán Irma a demostrado un alto nivel de destrucción y su paso es una gran amenaza para la salud y la seguridad de todos los estadounidenses”, declaró el secretario del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos, Dr. Tom Price. “El departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos ha designado los recursos y el personal que pueden responder rápidamente para atender las necesidades locales en Florida a causa del huracán Irma, y esta declaración permite garantizar la continuidad del acceso a los servicios de salud para quienes tengan los seguros médicos estatales”.

Price, secretario del HHS, declara el estado de emergencia de salud pública en Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU a causa del huracán Irma El Secretario del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los EE. UU., Dr. Tom Price, habló el martes con el gobernador de Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló, y el gobernador de las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU, Kenneth Mapp para informarles las iniciativas de HHS para prepararse para la tormenta y brindar asistencia local de ser necesario.

Además de aumentar la flexibilidad para la prestación de los servicios y la asistencia para beneficiarios de los CMS, HHS ha asignado un grupo de 80 personas a las áreas afectadas para ayudar a las autoridades locales y estatales a planificar y responder a las necesidades médicas de sus comunidades, y hay personal adicional a disposición en caso de necesidad.

La declaración de emergencia sanitaria en Florida está en línea con declaraciones similares en Texas y Luisiana que el Secretario Price firmó para ayudar a los residentes afectados por el huracán Harvey. El Secretario Price actúa en virtud de la autoridad que le confieren la Ley de Salud Pública y la Ley de Seguridad Social.

Estas medidas y flexibilizaciones tienen vigencia en forma retroactiva al 4 de septiembre de 2017.

Hay información de salud y seguridad con relación al huracán Irma disponible en https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/hurricane_irma.html

HHS moviliza personal médico y suministros para responder ante el huracán Irma

HHS Gov News - September 08, 2017

A modo de prevención del impacto significativo que tendrá el huracán Irma, que en la actualidad es un huracán de categoría 5, a medida que se acerca a los estados y territorios estadounidenses, el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los Estados Unidos (HHS) asignó personal médico de apoyo cerca de las áreas que podrían verse afectadas y alertó a los equipos médicos y de salud pública de apoyo para que estén preparados para presentarse en las áreas afectadas.

“El huracán Irma es una tormenta particularmente fuerte, y como fuente central de apoyo de servicios médicos y de salud pública a nivel nacional, estamos preparados para asistir a los estados y territorios estadounidenses con todas sus necesidades de salud cuando llegue el huracán”, afirmó el subsecretario de Preparación y Respuesta ante emergencias del HHS, Dr. Robert Kadlec. “Una tormenta de esta magnitud supone una amenaza para la salud y la seguridad de todos los que estén en su camino, y pido a todos los residentes que estén preparados para los posibles efectos que esto pueda acarrear para su salud”.

El Secretario del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los EE. UU., Dr. Tom Price, habló el martes con el gobernador de Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló, el gobernador de las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU., Kenneth Mapp y el gobernador de la Florida, Rick Scott para informarles las iniciativas de HHS para prepararse para la tormenta y brindar asistencia local de ser necesario.

Se enviarán equipos y personal del ámbito federal a solicitud de cada funcionario estatal o territorial. Para garantizar la capacidad de respuesta inmediata a las solicitudes por parte de los estados y territorios afectados, el HHS designó personal de coordinación de respuesta y asignó equipos en Puerto Rico y Georgia. Estos equipos supervisarán las actividades de respuesta en Puerto Rico, las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU. o Florida.

El HHS también despachó un Equipo de Asistencia Médica ante Catástrofes (DMAT, en inglés) del Sistema Médico Nacional de Catástrofes a Puerto Rico, y apostó dos DMAT en Georgia preparados para desplegarse rápidamente a regiones que hayan sufrido el impacto de Irma. Los DMAT están integrados por profesionales médicos y personal de apoyo del sector privado que se convocan para prestar servicio público en situaciones de catástrofe, a fin de ayudar a los funcionarios locales a cubrir las necesidades acuciantes de atención médica después de la tormenta.

El HHS puso en estado de alerta a DMAT adicionales para que estén preparados para desplegarse en caso de que fuera necesario. Hay tres equipos con personal del Cuerpo de Comisionados del Servicio de Salud Pública de los Estados Unidos también preparados para brindar asistencia.

Para asistir a los funcionarios estatales y territoriales en la preparación frente a los posibles impactos sobre la salud, el HHS pone los datos de emPOWER a disposición de los funcionarios de salud pública en Puerto Rico y Florida. Estos datos dan cuenta de la cantidad de beneficiarios de Medicare en cada región posiblemente impactada que dependen de alguno de los 14 tipos de equipos de asistencia de vida, que van desde tubos concentradores de oxígeno hasta sillas de ruedas eléctricas, además de datos sobre la cantidad de personas que dependen de tratamientos de diálisis, asistencia respiratoria con oxígeno y servicios médicos a domicilio. Estos ciudadanos se encuentran entre los más vulnerables de sus comunidades y son los que con mayor probabilidad necesitarán asistencia para salvar sus vidas si se producen apagones prolongados.

De ser necesario, el HHS puede instalar Puestos Médicos Federales (FMS, en inglés) con capacidad para atender hasta 250 pacientes a la vez. El HHS instaló y aportó el personal para un FMS en un centro de convenciones en Houston después del huracán Harvey. El departamento también está en condiciones de movilizar suministros y equipos médicos adicionales, incluidos productos farmacológicos, según resulte necesario, para asistir en la respuesta médica local.

Hay información de salud y seguridad con relación al huracán Irma disponible en: https://www.cdc.gov/es/disasters/hurricanes/hurricane_irma.html

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