Hurricane Irma Resources & Information

See below for resources and information for people with disabilities who were affected by Hurricane Irma. We will update this page as more resources become available.

If you are looking for general information about disaster and emergency planning, please visit our Disaster and Emergency Planning disability topic page.

General Resources and Links

Visit Florida Disaster – Florida Division of Emergency Management at http://www.floridadisaster.org/info/ for comprehensive information.

FEMA has also created a series of accessible videos that explain available assistance in a question-and-answer format. These are narrated verbally and include video of a person providing the same information using American Sign Language. A transcript can be found on the page below each video. 

Florida Emergency Information Line -- 800-342-3557

  • The Florida Emergency Information Line (FEIL) is a toll-free hotline activated at the time of an emergency to provide an additional resource for those in Florida to receive accurate and up-to-date information regarding an emergency or disaster situation impacting the State of Florida.
  • FEIL line is currently activated and available 24 hours/7 days a week.

Text FLRESPONDS to 888777 to receive updates via text

  • Public Service Commission updates on Hurricane Irma outage reports: http://www.psc.state.fl.us/
  • Please call 1-800-451-1954 for assistance.  

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline

  • Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
  • It's a 24/7, 365-day-a–year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.

More Resources

Housing Resources

Residents who sustained losses in declared counties can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Residents who suffered damages from the storm may register now, and if their county is later included in the declaration, the application will be processed automatically.

  • If you do not have access to the internet, you may register by calling 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY);
  • If you use 711 Relay or Video Relay Service call 1-800-621-3362.
  • Persons displaced by Hurricane Irma may search for available housing using www.Floridahousingsearch.org
  • For those of you still without power, FEMA Emergency Lodging Assistance Program will pay for hotels. Please contact FEMA ELA program 1-866-545-9865 or email femahousing@clclodging.com
  • Volunteer Florida is coordinating residential home clean-up for damages from Hurricane Irma. This can include items like tree removal, yard clean up, tarping roofs, removing drywall etc.  Please call 1-800-451-1954 for assistance. 
  • Many banks are offering payment deferments to people impacted by Hurricane Irma. Contact your bank and ask what options they offer.

Medicare Administrative Actions

Blanket Waivers for the United States Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and States of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Under Sections 1135 or 1812(f) of the Social Security Act, CMS has issued several blanket waivers in the impacted counties and geographical areas in United States Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and State of Florida. These waivers will prevent gaps in access to care for beneficiaries impacted by the emergency. Individual facilities do not need to apply for the following approved blanket waivers:

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
    • 1812(f): This waiver of the requirement for a 3-day prior hospitalization for coverage of a skilled nursing facility stay provides temporary emergency coverage of Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) services without a qualifying hospital stay, for those people who are evacuated, transferred, or otherwise dislocated as a result of the effect of Hurricane Irma in United States Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and States of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in 2017.  In addition, for certain beneficiaries who recently exhausted their SNF benefits, it authorizes renewed SNF coverage without first having to start a new benefit period. (Blanket waiver for all impacted facilities)
    • 483.20: This waiver provides relief to Skilled Nursing Facilities on the timeframe requirements for Minimum Data Set assessments and transmission. (Blanket waiver for all impacted facilities)
  • Home Health Agencies
    • 484.20(c)(1): This waiver provides relief to Home Health Agencies on the timeframes related to OASIS Transmission. (Blanket waiver for all impacted agencies)
  • Critical Access Hospitals
    • This action waives the requirements that Critical Access Hospitals limit the number of beds to 25, and that the length of stay be limited to 96 hours. (Blanket waiver for all impacted hospitals)
  • Housing Acute Care Patients In Excluded Distinct Part Units
    • CMS has determined it is appropriate to issue a blanket waiver to IPPS hospitals that, as a result of Hurricane Irma, need to house acute care inpatients in excluded distinct part units, where the distinct part unit’s beds are appropriate for acute care inpatient.  The IPPS hospital should bill for the care and annotate the patient’s medical record to indicate the patient is an acute care inpatient being housed in the excluded unit because of capacity issues related to the hurricane.  (Blanket waiver for all IPPS hospitals located in the affected areas that need to use distinct part beds for acute care patients as a result of the hurricane.)
  • Durable Medical Equipment
    • As a result of Hurricane Irma, CMS has determined it is appropriate to issue a blanket waiver to suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) where DMEPOS is lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged, or otherwise rendered unusable.  Under this waiver, the face-to-face requirement, a new physician’s order, and new medical necessity documentation are not required for replacement. Suppliers must still include a narrative description on the claim explaining the reason why the equipment must be replaced and are reminded to maintain documentation indicating that the DMEPOS was lost, destroyed, irreparably damaged or otherwise rendered unusable as a result of these hurricanes.
    • As a result of Hurricane Irma, CMS is temporarily extending the 10 business day deadline to provide notification of any subcontracting arrangements. During the temporary extension period, affected contract suppliers will have 30 business days to provide notice to the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor of any subcontracting arrangements. CMS will notify DMEPOS Competitive Bidding contract suppliers via e-mail when this temporary extension expires. All other competitive bidding program requirements remain in force. Note: CMS will provide notice of any changes to reporting timeframes for future events.
  • Replacement Prescription Fills
    • Medicare payment may be permitted for replacement prescription fills (for a quantity up to the amount originally dispensed) of covered Part B drugs in circumstances where dispensed medication has been lost or otherwise rendered unusable by damage due to the emergency.
  • IPPS Hospitals
    • FY 2014 and FY 2015 S-10 Revisions CMS is currently granting a 31-day extension to the deadline to resubmit certain Worksheet S-10 data for IPPS hospitals located in the States of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  As noted in the FY 2018 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS)/LTCH PPS Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System (LTCH PPS) final rule (82 FR 38208, August 14, 2017), our initial deadline had been September 30, 2017 . For revisions to be considered, we are modifying the deadline in accordance with Waivers or Modifications of Requirements under Section 1135(b)(5) of the Social Security, such that amended FY 2014 and FY 2015 cost reports due to revised or initial submissions of Worksheet S-10 must be received by Medicare Administrative Contractors on or before October 31, 2017.
  • Care for Excluded Inpatient Psychiatric Unit Patients in the Acute Care Unit of a Hospital
    • CMS has determined it is appropriate to issue a blanket waiver to IPPS and other acute care hospitals with excluded distinct part inpatient psychiatric units that, as a result of Hurricane Irma, need to relocate inpatients from the excluded distinct part psychiatric unit to an acute care bed and unit.  The hospital should continue to bill for inpatient psychiatric services under the inpatient psychiatric facility prospective payment system for such patients and annotate the medical record to indicate the patient is a psychiatric inpatient being cared for in an acute care bed because of capacity or other exigent circumstances related to the hurricane.  This waiver may be utilized where the hospital’s acute care beds are appropriate for psychiatric patients and the staff and environment are conducive to safe care. For psychiatric patients, this includes assessment of the acute care bed and unit location to ensure those patients at risk of harm to self and others are safely cared for.
  • Care for Excluded Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit Patients in the Acute Care Unit of a Hospital
    • CMS has determined it is appropriate to issue a blanket waiver to IPPS and other acute care hospitals with excluded distinct part inpatient Rehabilitation units that, as a result of Hurricane Irma, need to relocate inpatients from the excluded distinct part Rehabilitation unit to an acute care bed and unit.  The hospital should continue to bill for inpatient rehabilitation services under the inpatient rehabilitation facility prospective payment system for such patients and annotate the medical record to indicate the patient is a rehabilitation inpatient being cared for in an acute care bed because of capacity or other exigent circumstances related to the hurricane.  This waiver may be utilized where the hospital’s acute care beds are appropriate for providing care to rehabilitation patients and such patients continue to receive intensive rehabilitation services. 

These temporary emergency policies would apply to the timeframes specified in the waiver(s) issued under section 1135 of the Act in connection with the effect of Hurricane Irma in the United States Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and States of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. More information is available in the 1135 Waiver Letters, which are posted in the Downloads section below.