(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the state of Georgia to deal with the ramifications of Hurricane Idalia.
The hurricane hit Florida’s Gulf Coast in late August with fierce winds, torrential rains and pounding surf before turning to southeastern Georgia, where floodwater trapped some residents in their homes.
With the PHE declaration, healthcare providers and suppliers will have greater flexibility in meeting emergency needs of people covered by the Medicare and Medicaid health plans, the HHS said.
“We are working closely with state and local health authorities, as well as our partners across the federal government, and stand ready to provide additional public health and medical support,” said health secretary Xavier Becerra.
The declaration waives certain requirements such as physicians or other healthcare professionals needing to hold licenses in the state in which they provide services.
(Reporting by Christy Santhosh and Rahul Paswan in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)