Resources and Information for Pharmacy Practitioners and Patients Affected by Hurricane Dorian
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2019
IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND UPDATES FROM THE OFFICE OF THE STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR, NC DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AS HURRICANE DORIAN APPROACHES:
NEW - Food benefits were sent early to SNAP recipients.
North Carolina households who currently receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) received September 2019 benefits by September 7th so they can purchase necessary food following Hurricane Dorian. Participants should be aware that there will be no additional FNS benefits issued in the month of September and plan accordingly. This change impacts all FNS recipients in the state. During October, households receiving FNS benefits from Oct. 1-15 will receive benefits on their normal cycle. Those receiving benefits from Oct. 17-21 will receive them Oct. 15.
NEW – The time to report loss of food has been extended.
North Carolina households who lost food purchased with their Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits will have longer than the normal 10 days to report the loss to receive replacement benefits. Households have until September 30th to request a replacement. This provides additional time for families who cannot report a food loss to their local Department of Social Services (DSS) office due to displacement, transportation issues or other storm-related hardships.
NEW - Assistive technology devices and equipment are available.
Assistive technology devices and equipment are available to help individuals who are displaced due to the storm or who have devices or equipment that is destroyed or lost. Requests can be made to North Carolina Assistive Technology Program: Frank Harden at 919-859-8360 or Tammy Koger at 919-855-3544 or after-hours at 919-414-6943.
NEW – A RFT for hurricane preparation funding will be available this week.
The Office of Rural Health (ORH) will release this week a RFA for hurricane preparation funding for safety-net providers in 34 FEMA-identified counties affected by Hurricane Florence. In July, ORH received a $1 million grant from Kate B Reynolds Charitable for this purpose. The project will support access to healthcare by providing funding for infrastructure-related capital needs and emergency supplies or equipment to sustain services during emergencies and natural disasters.
Food benefits will be available early for WIC participants.
In addition, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants in storm-affected counties who were scheduled to receive their benefits should have had those benefits automatically added to their eWIC card by their local WIC agency. WIC participants can confirm that benefits have been added by calling the eWIC customer service line at 844-230-0813 or by accessing their account at www.mybnft.com. This automatic renewal will continue through the weekend in storm-affected counties.
Medications for HIV shipped early.
Walgreens shipped medications for HIV early to patients living in coastal communities. They are also authorized to fill emergency prescriptions.
Temporary flexibilities in place to make it easier for Medicaid beneficiaries to access services.
DHHS has received federal authority to make it easier for beneficiaries to access services and for health care providers to deliver care. This includes receiving or providing care in a temporary shelter, transfers to another nursing home facility, and more. Visit the Medicaid Hurricane Dorian webpage for details.
People receiving Medicaid can fill prescriptions early.
Effective Sept ember 3, Medicaid is allowing for early refills of prescriptions. NC Medicaid enrolled pharmacy providers have been approved to fill these prescriptions early and will follow applicable co-pay requirements. This early refill is being allowed while the Governor’s State of Emergency order remains in place to ensure that all Medicaid beneficiaries have access to necessary medications.
Medication assisted treatment is available.
Individuals receiving medication assisted treatment from an opioid treatment program may take home additional doses for treatment or receive guest-dosing at another licensed opioid treatment program. Other locations can be found in the Central Registry.
Behavioral health services are available.
Anyone in need of or receiving behavioral health care who are uninsured or are a Medicaid beneficiary can access care by calling their regional behavioral health Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organization (LME/MCO). They can also call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. It is available year-round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
Department of Health and Human Services has launched a Hurricane Dorian webpage with resources.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2019
From NCDHHS / NC Medicaid:
NC MEDICAID AND NC HEALTH CHOICE BENEFICIARIES CAN GET EMERGENCY PRESCRIPTIONS - Hurricane Dorian Pharmacy Provision
Governor Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency for North Carolina in anticipation of potential severe weather caused by the approach of Hurricane Dorian. See the NC declaration of a state emergency here.
The potential for severe weather conditions may present situations where NC Medicaid and Health Choice beneficiaries in impacted areas may require an early refill of their medications. NC Medicaid enrolled pharmacy providers have been approved to early fill these prescriptions and will follow applicable co-pay requirements. This early refill is being allowed while the governor’s state of emergency order remains in place to ensure that all Medicaid beneficiaries have access to necessary medications.
Questions can be directed to the NCTracks Call Center at 866-246-8505.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2019
BOARD ISSUES WAIVER OF CERTAIN PHARMACY PRACTICE ACT REQUIREMENTS TO FACILITATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE DURING AND AFTER HURRICANE DORIAN
Pharmacists and pharmacies are reminded that the Board of Pharmacy has exercised its authority under G.S. 90-85.25(a) to waive certain requirements of the North Carolina Pharmacy Practice Act to facilitate the provision of patient care during a declared emergency. With Hurricane Dorian’s approach, now is the time to review that policy and begin taking action to implement plans to ensure continuity of patient care.
As a lead-in to the policy, pharmacists should note that Board staff and members certainly are aware of the significant public health issues that could created by this storm and its aftermath. Board staff and members are aware of the often superhuman efforts that pharmacists and pharmacies expend to ensure that patient needs are being met as well as possible under these circumstances. Be assured. Board members and staff support your efforts to ensure that patient needs are being met. Deviations from the letter of pharmacy law or rule are almost certainly going to be necessary to do so. Board members and staff understand this and know that you will use your compassion and good judgment to deal with the crisis.
The Board’s policy specifically authorizes, for the duration of the declared emergency, any pharmacist or nationally-certified pharmacy technician who has a license in good standing in another state to practice in the location of the state of emergency without being licensed by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy, so long as a minimal notice requirement is satisfied.
The Board’s policy also specifically authorizes existing permits, as necessary, to operate in a temporary location without obtaining any sort of additional permit, again so long as a minimal notice requirement is satisfied.
The policy also provides for waivers of other deviations from the Pharmacy Practice Act and rules, subject to notification to, and approval by, the Executive Director.
The policy, which specifies the minimal notice requirements mentioned above, is found here: http://www.ncbop.org/PDF/NCBOPHurricanePolicy4814-4812-3762.pdf. The referenced notification email address – email@example.com – is already operative.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2019
In the event that federal responders are deployed to areas affected by Hurricane Dorian, pharmacists are advised that providers may use this prescription blank (sample found here). Federal responders may also be providers who are from various parts of the country.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 - APPROACH OF HURRICANE DORIAN PROMPTS STATE OF EMERGENCY IN NC
Governor Cooper has declared a state of emergency for North Carolina in anticipation of potential severe weather caused by the approach of Hurricane Dorian. The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy reminds pharmacy owners, pharmacy managers, and persons-in-charge of DME businesses to ready their disaster plans for the preservation of records, medications and other inventory. Additionally, pharmacies use Rule .1815 (detailed here) to provide emergency prescription refills. Joshua Kohler, NCBOP Director of Investigations is your contact for questions: (919) 246-1050 x231 or (919) 698-1435.
Additionally, please see the NC Department of Insurance's 9/1/19 bulletin reminding health benefit plans of compliance requirements for operations under a state of emergency for purposes of obtaining extra prescriptions during a state of emergency or disaster.
Governor Cooper's Executive Order Declaring a State of Emergency in NC: https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO101-Declaration-of-SOE_Hurricane-Dorian.pdf.