Gustav: Providers Pitch in
HME providers from the across the industry reached out to Hurricane Gustav victims, according to AAHomecare
, which says it has been tracking the storm's impact on seniors using homecare equipment and services.
HME providers in Alabama reported that thousands of evacuees from the Gulf Coast came to their state, including many who had left home without their medical equipment or supplies.
For instance, Jenny Cauthen, director of Home Medical Equipment at Birmingham’s Alacare Home Health & Hospice
received a request from the American Red Cross to aid evacuees at several local shelters who needed oxygen, wheelchairs, and nebulizers.
A statement from AAHomecare says Cauthen and her staff delivered equipment to three shelters and were able to secure oxygen therapy for three evacuees from Louisiana. She also arranged for delivery of 10 extra hospital beds to Brookdale Assisted Living in Birmingham, which needed the beds to house elderly evacuees who had been forced to sleep on the floor the night before.
Even before the storm, Cauthen says Alacare identified local oxygen, nebulizer and power mattress patients who could be affected by power outages.
In addition to providers, the federal government issued a waiver of Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP requirements to help ensure that beneficiaries would receive services and equipment as needed during Hurricane Gustav. CMS also expanded the definition of the word “home” to ensure that homecare patients could still receive home health services at alternate sites, and said it would work with FEMA to management lost, stolen and abandoned DME.
“Many of the agency’s normal operating procedures will be temporarily relaxed so health care services will continue to be provided to the elderly, people with disabilities and vulnerable children as they leave the areas affected by the hurricane,” said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems in a public statement.
The full text of the waiver can be read at:http://www.cms.hhs.gov/Emergency/Downloads/1135_Waiver.pdf
CMS statements related to Gustav can be read at:http://www.cms.hhs.gov/Emergency/02_Hurricanes.asp