HHS activates aid for uninsured citizens needing meds


Uninsured U.S. citizen residents of the CNMI are eligible for no-cost replacements of critical medications lost or damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu.

This relief comes from the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to protect Americans from the potential health impacts of disasters, and Emergency Prescription Assistance Program is one part of that effort,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Robert Kadlec, M.D. “EPAP provides vital assistance to people without insurance who rely upon certain prescription medicines and equipment to protect their health after disasters. I encourage citizens in Northern Mariana Islands who qualify for this assistance to take advantage of it.”

At no cost to uninsured patients, those needing certain prescription medications during an emergency can obtain a 30-day supply at any EPAP participating pharmacy through Nov. 24, 2018.

Most prescription drugs are covered under the program.

Uninsured patients also may use EPAP to replace specific medical supplies or medical equipment, such as canes and walkers, damaged or lost as a direct result of Super Typhoon Yutu or as a secondary result of loss or damage caused while in transit from the emergency site to an emergency shelter.

More than 72,000 pharmacies participate nationwide. All of the pharmacies in the CNMI are open and the following pharmacies on Saipan participate in the EPAP:

• Brabu Pharmacy
• PHI Pharmacy, Navy Hill
• PHI Pharmacy, Joeten Dandan

Emergency Prescription Assistance Program provides an efficient mechanism for enrolled pharmacies to process claims for prescription medication, specific medical supplies, and some forms of durable medical equipment for eligible individuals in a federally identified disaster area.

All pharmacies in the United States are eligible to participate. Pharmacies in the CNMI can call 888-571-8182, toll-free, to be added to the program.

Uninsured CNMI residents affected by Super Typhoon Yutu can call 855-793-7470, to learn if their medication or specific durable medical equipment is covered by EPAP and to find a participating pharmacy or visit www.phe.gov/epap.

HHS also has personnel from Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps working alongside local healthcare providers to care for patients at CNMI clinics, shelters and community centers.

In the initial days after the storm, these teams also provided emergency medical care at the hospital on Saipan. In the first two weeks, these personnel have seen more than 2,100 patients, primarily for cleanup related injuries such as lacerations and puncture wounds, and primary care needs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has information available to help citizens understand the safe use of medical products, including insulin and devices, exposed to flooding or unsafe water after Super Typhoon Yutu. This information includes the safe use of temperature-sensitive drugs when refrigeration is temporarily unavailable.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has taken measures necessary to give healthcare providers, facilities and suppliers the flexibility needed to provide continued access to care following the catastrophic storm.

CMS temporarily waived or modified certain Medicare and Medicaid requirements. CMS has issued waivers as necessary, and the CMS Regional Office can grant other provider-specific requests for the hospital and other CNMI healthcare facilities.

CMS also worked with the Kidney Community Emergency Response network and dialysis providers to check on the wellbeing of dialysis patients and reschedule their dialysis services at open dialysis facilities.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration activated its Disaster Distress Helpline, a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling. Call 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Information on disaster health and HHS actions is available on www.phe.gov/emergency. (PR)

Press Release
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