HHS declares PHE in Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra declared a public health emergency in Florida Sept. 26 as the state braces for the emergency health effects of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to bring hurricane conditions to parts of the state's west coast by Sept. 28. 

In declaring the PHE, HHS extends flexibilities under CMS for beneficiaries, healthcare providers and suppliers to meet emergency health needs, such as allowing physicians or other healthcare professionals who hold licenses from another state to provide emergency care and waiving certain penalties under HIPAA. 

Additionally, HHS has pre-positioned two 15-person medical task force teams from its National Disaster Medical System, a 13-person incident management team and two pharmacists to assist with the response, with additional teams and support prepared to deploy if needed.

Hurricane Ian made landfall over western Cuba early Sept. 27. It is expected to move west of the Florida Keys later in the day and move toward west-central Florida Florida as a major hurricane by late Sept. 28. (Track the hurricane in real time through the National Hurricane Center.)

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