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 Nursing Homes Urged To Engage With CMS As Post-Sandy Realities Sink In

The Obama administration on has given New York long term care providers a broad waiver of health care, patient privacy, and financial regulations as they dig their way out of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also urged providers in other states to check CMS' website or with CMS’ regional offices (see below) for guidance as they took their first steps toward recovery.

CMS officials said in a Thursday conference call that they’re willing to work with providers in other states to give short-term waivers for regulations as they deal with those displaced by the horrific weather.

Sandy was a once-in-a-generation storm that soaked most of the Eastern seaboard. But already, tales of heroic struggles to protect seniors in long term and post-acute care facilities were beginning to percolate on the restored communications grid.

“The work that is being done is nothing more than amazing, but more attention needs to be paid to the thousands of nursing home residents that have been displaced and still need to be placed out of harm’s way,” Sea Crest Healthcare Center Executive Director Michael Schrieber said in an e-mail Thursday.

Two of Schrieber’s buildings were swamped with water and may well be lost, he added. That didn’t stop Schrieber and his staff from offering sheltering to some 30 of their neighbors during the worst of the storm.

“It is too late to cry about it, and I only wish my patients and staff did not have to go through the storm in what became a very unsafe situation,” he said. “But my staff was amazing!”

For more information on waivers, check out CMS' list of FAQs about applying for a waiver, or contact a regional office:

CMS Region 1
Boston, MA
VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT
Public HITECH Inquiry Line: (617) 565-1331
Public Email Address: ROBOSFM@cms.hhs.gov
Fax: (617) 565-3856
Lead HITECH Point of Contact: Rick Hoover
Regional Administrator: Dr. Jaye Weisman
Chief Medical Officer: William J. Kassler, MD, MPH

CMS Region 2
New York, NY
NY, NJ, PR, USVI
Public HITECH Inquiry Line: (212) 616-2500
Public Email Address: RONYCFM@cms.hhs.gov
Fax: (212) 264-2790
Lead HITECH Point of Contact: Paul Velez
Regional Administrator: Dr. Jaye Weisman
Chief Medical Officer: Nilsa Gutierrez, MD, MPH, FACP

CMS Region 3
Philadelphia, PA
PA, DE, WV, VA, DC, MD
Public HITECH Inquiry Line: (215) 861-4154
Public Email Address: ROPHICFM@cms.hhs.gov
Fax: (212) 618-3176
Lead HITECH Point of Contact: Patrick Hamilton
Regional Administrator: Nancy B. O’Connor
Chief Medical Officer: Barbara J. Connors, DO, MPH

CMS Region 5
Chicago, IL
MN, WI, MI, IL, IN, OH
Public HITECH Inquiry Line: (312) 353-9841
Public Email Address: ROCHIFM@cms.hhs.gov
Fax: (312) 353-9474
Lead HITECH Point of Contact: Susan Hahn Reizner
Regional Administrator: John Hammarlund
Chief Medical Officer: Derek Robinson, MD, MBA, FACEP

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