CMS offers relief to providers hit by Hurricane Katrina

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Federal Medicaid officials also are working closely with state Medicaid agencies to coordinate resolution of interstate payment agreements for recipients who are served outside their home states.

CMS will also offer the following relief immediately:

* Health care providers that furnish medical services in good faith, but who cannot comply with normal program requirements because of Hurricane Katrina, will be paid for services provided and will be exempt from sanctions for noncompliance, unless it is discovered that fraud or abuse occurred.

* Crisis services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients who have been transferred to facilities not certified to participate in the programs will be paid.

* Normal prior authorization and out-of-network requirements will also be waived for enrollees of Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP managed care plans.

* Normal licensing requirements for doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who cross state lines to provide emergency care in stricken areas will be waived as long as the provider is licensed in their home state.

* Certain HIPAA privacy requirements will be waived so that health care providers can talk to family members about a patient's condition even if that patient is unable to grant that permission to the provider.