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Disaster Preparedness: Access post-disaster resources

Disaster Preparedness: Access post-disaster resources

Emily HarkenQ. Can I get reimbursed for lost/destroyed equipment after a disaster? 

A. Last month, we discussed preparing for a natural disaster. That article could not have come at a better time as Hurricane Ian recently ripped through much of Florida, the Carolinas and other coastal states. We hope everyone was able to prepare for the disaster. 

It seems appropriate now to discuss post-disaster resources.   

Government assistance is available if/when the White House declares a national disaster. Section 1135 authorizes the secretary of Health and Human Services to waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and HIPAA requirements during a national disaster with these two pre-requisites: the president must declare an emergency/disaster under the National Emergency Act; and the secretary must declare a public health emergency under the Public Service Act.  

Once these declarations occur, the following resources are available to those in the disaster area:  

  • FEMA assistance  
  • Small Business Disaster Assistance  
  • Economic injury disaster loans  
  • Medicare Fee-for-Service, once other resources (insurance) are exhausted  
  • Medicare/Medicaid will pay for replacement DMEPOS that a beneficiary owns or purchased, when it's lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged, etc. 

For more details on disaster resources with traditional Medicare FFS: https://cgsmedicare.com/jc/hurricane_info.html.  

CMS’s website on resources and flexibility can be found at www.cms.hhs.gov/outreach-and-education

For other payers outside of traditional Medicare, suppliers need to contact the payer directly or look for updates on their individual websites.  

Make sure to check with your business insurance to see if they will cover any equipment destroyed in a natural disaster.  

Finally, be sure to maintain contact with your state/regional HME association. Keep them updated on your needs.  

The Emergency Preparedness for HME Suppliers Committee consists of state association leaders across the country, as well as VGM and AAHomecare members. Other post-disaster resources and checklists are available on the committee’s website. 

Emily Harken is director of operations for VGM Government Relations. Reach her at [email protected]

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