HHS Declares Public Health Emergency in California Due to Wildfires
October 16, 2017

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in California due to severe wildfires. The declaration, which is retroactive to Oct. 8, waives certain conditions providers are typically expected to meet for reimbursement, including:

  • Certain conditions of participation, certification requirements, program participation or similar requirements for individual health care providers or types of health care providers — including hospitals, physicians or other health care practitioners or professionals, health care facilities or suppliers of health care items or services — and pre-approval requirements
  • Requirements that physicians or other health care professionals hold licenses in the state in which they provide services, if they have an equivalent license from another state

The order also protects providers from sanctions resulting from relocating or transferring individuals to another location prior to receiving medical screening or being stabilized and sanctions for actions related to physician referral. Sanctions and penalties arising from noncompliance with certain aspects of HIPAA regulations are also waived.