Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
November 19, 2010: Medical facilities, professionals and other providers who cared for victims of January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti will be reimbursed for the cost of that care, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.
After the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake hit the island nation, the infrastructure crumbled, leaving the medical community challenged to treat the approximately 300,000 injured individuals. The earthquake also led to more than 200,000 deaths. Even with help offered by many countries, injured Haitians and Americans who were in Haiti at the time had to be evacuated to the United States for medical care. Many evacuees were treated in Florida and Georgia.
“State Medicaid programs and other providers responded without hesitation,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These medical professionals generously provided life-saving care to earthquake victims, often at great cost to their practices, hospitals and clinics.”
Payments to those who provided medical care that would otherwise be uncompensated will come from a special emergency fund included in the Disaster Relief and Summer Jobs Act of 2010.
“Congress and President Obama recognized the enormity of the tragedy and the unprecedented need for help,” said Secretary Sebelius, “This fund will allow HHS to reimburse providers for medical services, honoring the nation’s commitment to supplying humanitarian aid.”
Many services to evacuees were paid for by state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP), straining already tight state budgets. With the new money set aside in the supplemental fund, the federal government will reimburse states for their share of the costs of those two programs.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will work with states to determine and verify the costs to Medicaid and CHIP of those seeking post-quake care in the United States. State program claims will be eligible for reimbursement if services were provided to victims of the Haiti earthquake who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.
Payments for care of Haiti earthquake evacuees is available for up to eight months from the date of the individual’s arrival in the United States, but no later than Nov. 10, 2010. States that wish to be reimbursed for their share of the Medicaid or CHIP payments must file claims with CMS by March 1, 2011. Providers who have not already filed claims with state Medicaid or CHIP programs must file claims for care related to the earthquake by March 1, 2011.
Providers who have questions about filing claims or about eligibility to file a claim can send their inquiries to Haiticlaims@hhs.gov. State Medicaid offices that have questions about reimbursement for the state costs of Medicaid or CHIP should contact the regional Medicaid office.
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