Hurricane Response

  • Hurricane Irma
  • Hurricane Harvey
  • Hurricane Maria
Support Resources and Guidance
As the response efforts to Hurricane Harvey continue, Missouri health care providers are beginning to receive resource inquiries for deployment availability. The National Disaster Medical System has been fully activated and currently is the primary medical response asset supporting Texas-based teams. Midwest-1, the DMAT staffed with Missouri medical professionals, has deployed to Texas with specific response missions. St. Louis and Kansas City hospitals affiliated with the NDMS system are being queried daily for bed capacity and will continue to be queried until NDMS is deactivated.

Health and medical needs exceeding the resources within Texas and the scope of the NDMS are routed to states through formal emergency management structures, referred to as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact — a mutual aid agreement for states. At this time, Missouri has received no EMAC requests from Texas.

All hospital staff, specifically nurses, should evaluate any request they receive for deployment and verify if the request is connected to the official, coordinated response. For example, the American Nurses Association is referring their member inquires to the American Red Cross.

Unaffiliated deployments may not provide the necessary protections, such as workers’ compensation, liability coverage and the appropriate wrap-around services to include food, shelter and security during the deployment. Further, with the activation of the NDMS, Missouri remains a potential receiving site for medical evacuees and needs to proactively retain the appropriate level of staff to be prepared for a patient influx.

Here’s how you can help!

CDC Health Advisory
The CDC has released clinical guidance for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Texas Hospital Association Establishes Employee Assistance Fund
The Texas Hospital Association has established the THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund to provide financial assistance to employees of hospitals located in one of the 18 FEMA-designated disaster areas that experienced significant property loss during Hurricane or Tropical Storm Harvey, or the ensuing floods.

By creating a centralized fund focused specifically on the needs of Texas hospital employees, THA will ensure that donations go where they are needed most. Donations can be made on THA’s website. MHA and the American Hospital Association already have made contributions to the fund.

Disaster Exceptions/Exemptions for Medicare Certified Providers
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is granting exceptions under certain Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs to acute care hospitals, PPS-exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, outpatient dialysis facilities, long-term care hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers located in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey due to the devastating impact of the storm. These providers will be granted exceptions without having to submit an extraordinary circumstances exception request if they are located in one of the Texas counties or Louisiana parishes, all of which have been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a major disaster county.

The scope and duration of the exception under each Medicare quality reporting program is described in the memo posted on 8-31-17, however, all of the exceptions are being granted to assist these providers while they direct their resources toward caring for their patients and repairing structural damages to facilities.

If FEMA expands the current disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey to include additional counties or parishes, CMS will update this memo to expand the list of providers eligible to receive an exception without submitting a request to include the hospitals, PPS-exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers located in the additional counties and parishes.

In addition, CMS will continue to monitor the situation and adjust exempted reporting periods and submission deadlines accordingly.

Additional details and materials are available on the Hurricane webpage.

For further information about extensions and exemptions for PAC QRPs, view the program-specific webpages:

CDC Health Advisory

The CDC released advice for health care providers treating patients in or recently returned from hurricane-affected areas, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Maria Resources

Puerto Rico has received historic damage this month from hurricanes Irma and Maria. The island’s entire critical infrastructure network, to include power, water, fuel and communications systems, have been drastically impacted, projecting years of recovery efforts. Medical facilities have sustained major damage and are relying on backup systems to maintain operations and serve their communities. As transportation avenues are opened, disaster medical assistance teams from around the U.S. are deploying for extended tours to provide much needed medical support functions. The American Hospital Association has activated The Care Fund to provide support to hospital employees in Puerto Rico affected by the storms. We will continue to provide updated information and opportunities for those interested to provide assistance as it becomes available.