Press Release

For Immediate Release: December 19, 2017

Hurricane Evacuees from Puerto Rico who have not yet registered with FEMA for disaster assistance can still obtain assistance.  It is imperative that survivors register with FEMA in order to be eligible for disaster relief services. Those impacted by Hurricane Maria or Irma should call 800-621-3362 and register with FEMA.  You can also visit www.disasterassistance.gov  to register for assistance.  

 

Help After a Disaster

FEMA Individual Assistance Can Help You Recover

Information from FEMA’s Tri-Fold Brochure as of September 2017

What you should know before you apply.

Insurance: If you have insurance, you do not have to fle an insurance claim before applying for FEMA assistance. You are encouraged to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to start your insurance claim process. When you receive your insurance settlement, please call FEMA at 800-621-3362 to discuss your assistance options.

Inspections: If an inspection is required, a FEMA inspector will contact you to schedule an appointment to assess your property damage. If you cannot be present, another household member over the age of eighteen may meet with the inspector. Inspectors will have FEMA photo identification and are trained to identify damage caused by disasters. Inspectors will not physically access certain areas of your home, such as crawlspaces, attics, and roofs. Inspectors do not decide if you receive FEMA assistance.

Duplication of Benefits: It is important to provide accurate insurance information to avoid a duplication of FEMA assistance. By law, FEMA cannot give assistance for losses addressed by insurance coverage or other sources. If you receive FEMA assistance and have insurance that covers the same loss, you will be required to return the FEMA Assistance.

Financial Assistance Limit: Financial assistance is limited to an annually adjusted amount based on the Consumer Price Index. The financial assistance limit may be reached with a combination of Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance grant awards.

Flood insurance and Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA): If your home is located an SFHA, you are required to purchase and maintain flood insurance on your property as a condition of receiving FEMA disaster assistance. Failure to obtain and maintain flood insurance may affect your eligibility for future FEMA assistance.

Duration of Assistance: Assistance is provided for up to eighteen months from the disaster declaration, but may be extended if approved by the State, Tribe, or Territory, and FEMA

How can FEMA help you?

Assistance from FEMA may help you and members of your household who are affected by a disaster take care of necessary expenses and serious needs that cannot be met through insurance or other forms of assistance

Housing Assistance may be provided financially or directly, including:

Rent: Financial assistance to rent temporary housing while disaster-caused repairs are made to your primary residence, or while transitioning to permanent housing.

Home Repair: Financial assistance for homeowners to repair uninsured home damage caused by the disaster. The assistance is intended to repair the home to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.

Home Replacement: Financial assistance for homeowners who must replace or rebuild their primary residence as a result of the disaster.

Direct Housing: In limited circumstances where adequate temporary housing resources are not available, FEMA may provide a temporary housing unit directly to homeowners and renters.

Other Needs Assistance may be provided financially, including:

Personal Property: Assistance to repair or replace common household items including, but not limited to, furnishings, appliances, and assistive equipment that supports daily living activities

Medical/Dental: Assistance to pay for medical or dental expenses caused by the disaster. This includes, but is not limited to, hospital and ambulance services, and the replacement of medication.

Funeral: Assistance for expenses incurred due to a death caused by the disaster. Expenses include, but are not limited to, the cost of a casket or urn and funeral services.

Childcare: Assistance for increased child care costs as a result of the disaster. Eligible expenses include child care costs for children aged 13 and under, or children aged 14 to 18 with a disability.

Miscellaneous Expenses: Assistance to purchase specific items approved by the State, Tribe, or Territory. They may include, but are not limited to, items such as a wet/dry vacuum, chainsaw, or dehumidifier.

Transportation: Assistance to repair or replace a vehicle damaged by the disaster.

Moving & Storage Expenses: Assistance to temporarily relocate and store personal property from the damaged primary residence while repairs are made

Eligibility Criteria for Housing and Other Needs Assistance:

  • Your disaster losses must be in a Presidentially declared disaster area;
  • A member of your household must be a United States citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualifed alien;
  • Your damaged home is where you live the majority of the year;
  • You have necessary expenses or serious needs as a result of the disaster that are not covered by insurance or any other sources.

Additional FEMA assistance programs

Crisis Counseling: Assists individuals and communities recovering from the effects of a disaster through the provision of community-based outreach and educational services.

Disaster Unemployment: Provides unemployment benefits and reemployment services to individuals who become unemployed as a result of a disaster and are not eligible for regular State unemployment insurance.

Disaster Legal Services: Provides free legal assistance to low income individuals who are otherwise unable to secure legal services to meet their disaster related needs.

Disaster Case Management: Assists individuals with unmet needs caused by the disaster through the development and implementation of a Household Recovery Plan

Partner Agency Assistance

To meet the needs of disaster survivors, FEMA partners with other governmental and non-governmental agencies. FEMA works with the U.S. Small Business Administration to offer low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters in a declared disaster area. You do not need to own a business to apply for a disaster loan. Learn more about applying for a disaster loan or about
assistance available from other FEMA partners at: www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Apply for Disaster Assistance

Online:
Go to www.DisasterAssistance.gov on your computer, mobile device, or through the FEMA App (www.fema.gov/mobile-app) to register or check the status of your application.

By Phone:
Call 800-621-3362
• You can register in any language. For Spanish, press 2.
• If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use 711 or VRS, call 800-621-3362. TTY: call 800-462-7585

In Person:
Visit a Disaster Recovery Center. • For locations, call 800-621-3362 or visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
• Disaster Survivor Assistance team members may be visiting door-to-door in your area. They will have official FEMA photo identification

Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma and Maria Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Information as of September 2017

What is CMS doing to support Hurricane Harvey/Irma/Maria emergency recovery?

CMS is exercising its waiver authority to allow suppliers or other practitioners who are not currently enrolled to initiate temporary billing privileges and suspend certain Medicare enrollment screening requirements for healthcare and suppliers or other practitioners that are assisting with Hurricane Harvey/Irma/Maria recovery efforts in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. CMS has established a hotline to assist these healthcare suppliers and other practitioners in order to enroll in federal health programs and receive temporary Medicare billing privileges. This hotline is not intended for use by Part A certified or Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) suppliers.

What is the Hurricane Harvey/Irma/Maria Medicare Provider Enrollment Application Hotline?

CMS established a toll-free hotline servicing Medicare’s Part B providers and suppliers in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The hotline is intended for non-certified Part B suppliers and other practitioners to initiate provisional temporary Medicare billing privileges.

The hotline number is available for use by non-certified Part B suppliers and other practitioners servicing Medicare beneficiaries in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Through the hotline you will be able to:

  1. Initiate temporary billing privileges as a new supplier or other practitioner in Medicare.
  2. Add a temporary practice location as an existing supplier or other practitioner in Medicare.
  3. Add a temporary reassignment relationship as an existing supplier or other practitioner in Medicare.

What is the hotline number and hours of operation?

The toll free Hotline Telephone Number: 1-855-247-8428
Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM ET

This hotline number is used for all impacted areas

What information should I have available when I call the hotline?

To initiate temporary billing privileges, you will be asked to provide limited information, including, but not limited to, Legal Name, National Provider Identifier (NPI), Tax Identification Number (Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number), a valid in-state or out of-state licensure, address information and contact information (email address and telephone number).

How long will it take to approve my temporary Medicare billing privileges?

The Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) will attempt to screen and enroll the supplier or other practitioner over the phone and will notify the provider of their approval or rejection
of temporary Medicare billing privileges during the phone conversation. To assist in this effort, CMS is waiving the following enrollment requirements:

  • Payment of the application fee
  • Fingerprint based criminal background checks
  • Site visits
  • In-state licensure requirements

I am a licensed physician or other practitioner but not in the state of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. I will be traveling to one of these areas to provide services to those in need. Do I need to obtain a new license?

No. CMS is waving the licensure requirements. A physician or other practitioner must be licensed in at least one state in which he/she furnishes services, but is not required to be licensed in the state where assistance is being provided.

What will be the effective date of my temporary Medicare billing privileges?

Providers will be assigned a retroactive effective date that is based on the date of the telephone call but no earlier than the declared disaster effective dates (Aug. 25, 2017, for Texas; Aug. 28, 2017, for Louisiana; Sept. 10, 2017, for Florida and Puerto Rico; Sept. 7, 2017, for the U.S. Virgin Islands).

I am located in a declared disaster area and am due to revalidate. Will my due date be extended?

CMS is temporarily ceasing revalidation efforts for Medicare providers or suppliers located in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and other areas directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey/Irma/Maria. Upon the lifting of the Emergency Disaster Declaration, CMS will resume revalidation activities.

I am a Medicare enrolled supplier or other practitioner but will be providing services from a temporary location due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey/Irma/Maria. Do I need to report my temporary location to my Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC)?

CMS is waiving the practice location reporting requirements and will not take administrative actions with respect to suppliers or other practitioners who fail to provide notification of their
temporary practice location. This temporary process will remain in effect from the declared disaster effective dates (Aug. 25, 2017, for Texas; Aug. 28, 2017, for Louisiana; Sept. 10, 2017,
for Florida and Puerto Rico; Sept. 7, 2017, for the U.S. Virgin Islands) until the disaster designation is lifted. If the temporary location is still being utilized until the previous location is re-established, it must be reported via the appropriate CMS-855 enrollment application, as required to comply with the enrollment requirements.

How does Hurricane Harvey impact the temporary enrollment moratoria on Part B non emergency ambulance suppliers in Texas?

CMS has authority under 42 C.F.R. § 424.570(d) to lift a temporary moratorium at any time if the President declares an area a disaster under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. As a result of the President’s declaration in the state of Texas on August 25, 2017, CMS has carefully reviewed the potential impact of continued moratorium in Texas and is lifting the temporary enrollment moratoria on Part B non-emergency ambulance suppliers in Texas in order to aid in the disaster response. This lifting applies to Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and became effective on September 1, 2017. CMS will also publish a document in the Federal Register to announce that the moratoria on Part B non-emergency ambulance suppliers has been lifted. Providers and suppliers that were unable to enroll because of the moratorium will be designated to CMS’ high screening level under 42 CFR § 424.518(c)(3)(iii) to the extent these providers and suppliers enroll in Medicare in the future.

How long will the hotline be operational?

The hotline will cease providing Medicare temporary billing privileges over the phone on the date the disaster designation is lifted.

Will my temporary Medicare billing privileges be deactivated?

Your Medicare billing privileges are being granted on a provisional basis as a result of the disaster designations and are temporary. Upon the lifting of the Emergency Disaster Declaration, you will be asked to submit a complete CMS-855 enrollment application in order to establish full Medicare billing privileges, following the Medicare Administrative Contractor’s (MAC’s) review of your application. Failure to respond to the MAC’s request within 30 days of the notification, will result in the deactivation of your temporary billing privileges.

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