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Health & Hospitals

Sept. 14 - CMS Announces Ongoing Efforts to Support Hurricane Irma Emergency Response

Category: Health & Hospitals

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

September 14, 2017 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma temporarily suspended certain Medicare enrollment screening requirements for healthcare providers and suppliers that are assisting with Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. CMS established a hotline to assist these healthcare providers in order to enroll in federal health programs and receive temporary Medicare billing privileges. This is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to provide immediate relief to those affected by the hurricane.

“CMS is dedicated to making it as easy as possible for the individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Irma to access medical care during this difficult time,” said Administrator. “There are healthcare providers and suppliers in the aftermath of the hurricane that are ready and willing to help. CMS has established a hotline for providers and temporarily suspended certain Medicare requirements so that these healthcare professionals can provide services to those in need.”

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

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

To assist in this effort CMS is waiving the following enrollment requirements:

1. Payment of the application fee
2. Finger print based criminal background checks
3. Site visits
4. In-state licensure requirements

Providers will now be able to initiate temporary Medicare billing privileges over-the-phone and on the same day. In addition, CMS is:

· Exercising waiver authority to allow providers who are not currently enrolled to initiate temporary billing privileges by providing limited information, including, but not limited to, National Provider Identifier (NPI), Social Security Number (SSN) or a business Employer Identification Number taxpayer identification numbers (SSN/EIN/TIN), and valid in-state or out-of-state licensure.
· Temporarily ceasing revalidation efforts for Medicare providers located in U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida and other areas directly impacted by Hurricane Irma.
· Waiving the practice location reporting requirements and not taking administrative actions with respect to providers who fail to provide notification of their temporary practice location. This temporary process will remain in effect from the declared disaster effective dates (September 10, 2017, for Florida and Puerto Rico; September 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 through appropriate channels.

CMS will continue to work with all states and geographic areas in the path of hurricanes Irma and Harvey. The agency continues to update its emergency page ( with important information for state and local officials, providers, healthcare facilities, suppliers and the public.


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