Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar yesterday declared a public health emergency in Virginia as Hurricane Florence approaches, and waived or modified certain Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program requirements to give health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility to meet emergency health needs. The announcement follows a similar declaration and waiver for North and South Carolina, where several coastal hospitals are evacuating and the storm is expected to make landfall Friday. Among other actions, HHS has positioned about 400 personnel, 300 ambulances and two 250-bed medical stations to assist with patient transport, evacuation and medical needs, and provided guidance to the area on applying federal civil rights and HIPAA laws in an emergency. For more information and additional hurricane preparedness resources, visit and The North Carolina Healthcare Association and South Carolina Hospital Association are providing regular updates at and