CMS Strengthens Federal Support to California Residents Affected by Wildfires

PUBLISHED: Dec 18, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Behavioral Health, Clinical Lab, Community Mental Health Centers, Critical Access Hospitals, Dialysis Facilities, Home Health, Hospice, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office, Pharmacy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken the following steps to support the state of California and those residents impacted by wildfires:

  • Waivers for Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assistance for Hospitals and other Healthcare Facilities to provide continued access to care for beneficiaries.
  • Special Enrollment Opportunities and Medicare Flexibilities
    • CMS is providing beneficiaries affected by the California wildfires a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that gives them an additional opportunity through March 31, 2018 to add, drop or change their Medicare health and prescription drug plan in the event they are eligible for an SEP and were unable to make an election during the Fall open enrollment period or another election period for which they were eligible.
  • Dialysis Care
    • Dialysis patients who are unable to receive dialysis services at their usual facility and who need assistance to locate a facility where they can be dialyzed, should call the NW 18 (Southern California) Patient Hotline (800) 637-4767 for assistance. The following large dialysis organization hotline numbers are also available for patients: DaVita Emergency Dialysis Services: (800) 400-8331, Fresenius Kidney Care Emergency Hotline: (800) 626-1297, Dialysis Clinic Inc. (DCI) Emergency Command Center: (866) 424-1990, and U.S. Renal Care Emergency Hotline: (866) 671-USRC (8772).
  • Healthcare Provider Hotline
    • CMS established a toll-free hotline servicing Medicare’s Part B providers and suppliers in California. The hotline is intended to assist non-certified Part B suppliers, physicians and non-physician practitioners helping with recovery efforts enroll in federal health programs and receive temporary Medicare billing privileges. CMS is temporarily waiving the application fee, finger print-based criminal background checks, site visits, and in-state licensure requirements usually required for providers to access Medicare billing privileges. The toll-free hotline telephone number is (855) 259-2396.

CMS is encouraging people with federal benefits and providers and suppliers of healthcare equipment and services that have been impacted by the California wildfires, to seek help by visiting CMS’ emergency webpage. Please follow the link below for additional information.

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