Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric Hargan yesterday declared a public health emergency in California due to the wildfires devastating the state. The declaration allowed the acting secretary to issue a waiver under section 1135 of the Social Security Act for the state to enable the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to take action that gives individuals and their health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting critical health needs. “Wildfires burning across more than 200,000 acres and 10 Northern California counties threaten the lives of tens of thousands of people,” Hargan said. “Today’s public health declaration will ensure that those who rely upon Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage will receive uninterrupted care during this disaster.” The California Hospital Association and its regional partners have established a Hospital Workers’ Fire Relief Fund to help the more than 100 hospital employees affected by the wildfires. AHA has donated to the fund. Donations will be accepted until Oct. 31. For more information or to donate, click here.