A satellite image of Hurricane Michael in the Gulf of Mexico on October 10 at 2:32 a.m. CDT. At the time, Michael was a Category 4 hurricane. Credit: NASA/NOAA/UW-SSEC-CIMSS, William Straka III

Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday afternoon as a powerful and unprecedented Category 4 hurricane, the strongest hurricane on record to strike the region, according to the National Weather Service, which also called it “potentially catastrophic.”

Pharmacy Resources:

  • Healthcare Ready reported on October 18 that the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) has been activated in select Florida counties: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington. 
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced steps taken by the agency to support Florida in response to Hurricane Michael. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency (PHE) in Florida. With the PHE in effect, CMS has taken several actions to provide immediate relief to those impacted by the hurricane. The actions will include temporarily waiving or modifying certain Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements; creating special enrollment opportunities for individuals to access healthcare immediately; and taking steps to ensure dialysis patients obtain critical life-saving services.
  • NACDS partner Healthcare Ready launched a new Hurricane Michael web page with resources and guidance on emergency prescription refills as well as information on insurance plans and payers.
  • NACDS partner Healthcare Ready moved to ENGAGED status in anticipation of Hurricane Michael. Rx Open, which helps patients find nearby open pharmacies in areas impacted by disaster, has been activated for Hurricane Michael in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. If you become aware of situations that may adversely affect healthcare supply or care in the affected area, or if you would like to request the assistance of Healthcare Ready, please contact Alerts@HealthcareReady.org, or call 1-866-247-2694 at any time.
  • The North Carolina Department of Insurance issued a bulletin authorizing extra prescriptions during the Declaration of Emergency for Hurricane Michael, which allows patients to obtain one refill on a prescription if there are authorized refills remaining; or fill one replacement prescription for one that was recently filled, as prescribed or approved by the prescriber of the prescription that is being replaced and not contrary to the dispensing authority of the dispensing pharmacy.
  • Health and Human Services (HHS) has declared a state of emergency for Florida, including 1135 waivers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is issuing blanket waivers.
  • Health and Human Services hurricane preparedness resources can be found on the HHS website.