Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar yesterday declared a public health emergency for Puerto Rico, and waived or modified certain Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program requirements, giving health care providers greater flexibility to meet emergency health needs following a series of earthquakes and aftershocks this week in the U.S. territory. HHS’s Office for Civil Rights also has issued guidance to help ensure equal access to emergency services and appropriate sharing of medical information following the earthquakes. “Across HHS, we have worked closely with the territory’s health and human services authorities on disaster recovery, and will continue to do everything we can to help ensure the health and well-being of people across the island,” Azar said. The Food and Drug Administration is not currently aware of any potential shortages of critical medical products, the agency said. Puerto Rico is home to many drug and device manufacturing facilities. According to HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, two of the three hospitals that initially evacuated are now receiving patients.   

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