Tropical Storm Barry prompts public health emergency declaration

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has declared a public health emergency in Louisiana in anticipation of potential damage caused by Tropical Storm Barry.

The storm, which made landfall as a hurricane July 13, has caused heavy rain in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, according to CNN. Central Louisiana and the southwestern tip of Mississippi are expected to see another 4 to 6 inches of rain July 15.

The July 12 public health emergency declaration allows CMS beneficiaries, healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in the wake of such natural disasters.

"We are working closely with state health and emergency management officials to anticipate the communities' healthcare needs and be ready to meet them," Mr. Azar stated in a news release.

HHS has also been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency get about100 medical and public health personnel in place, along with medical equipment, to provide emergency care after the storm.

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