NCPA's Hurricane Season Pharmacy Resources

How to Help

Support community pharmacies affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma by donating to the NCPA Foundation's Disaster Relief Fund. Your contribution helps independent community pharmacy owners restore their businesses when the unthinkable happens. Visit the NCPA Foundation's website to learn more and donate.

Visit the Pharmacy Disaster Support Center, an NCPA Foundation program, at www.rxdisaster.com for information about how you can strengthen your business continuity procedures in the event of future disasters.

If your pharmacy has resources to spare (volunteers, DME, etc.) email alerts@healthcareready.org with your offer. Supply requests so far include oxygen concentrators, insulin, syringes, and other medical supplies. Volunteers not affiliated with a pharmacy or other health care provider can sign up at National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).

Volunteer Safety

As the hurricane recovery efforts will take many months, and response organizations seek to recruit personnel to deploy to Puerto Rico, USVI, and other locations affected by recent hurricanes, it will be necessary to consider the safety of response workers. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has prepared Key Messages for Employers, Workers, and Volunteers. This document provides safety information for minimizing risks to hurricane response workers from numerous potential threats.

General Information

CMS will extend both Medicare and Obamacare open enrollment periods for people affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. People who live in counties declared disaster areas by FEMA can now enroll in federal health plans until Dec. 31, 2017. CMS had already extended re-enrollment deadlines and waived copays for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries in hurricane-affected areas, but this year has sharply cut the open enrollment period for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Healthcare Ready is helping route and coordinate supply donations and volunteer health care professionals. If you are a trained health care professional interested in volunteering, your pharmacy has a health care supply need, OR you can donate supplies, please email Alerts@HealthcareReady.org.

All Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana pharmacies with an NCPDP number appear on the Rx Open pharmacy status map. Find your pharmacy on the map to verify that the status is correct. Response and recovery workers may need to contact you to request prescription medications or supplies for people in shelters. If your status is not accurate or you would like to become a participating pharmacy, send an email to contacus@healthcareready.org with your NCPDP number and request.

Emergency preparedness "refill too soon" edit override: Reminder: the most effective method for overriding "refill too soon" type reject during a disaster is using the Submission Clarification Code 13—Payer-Recognized Emergency/Disaster Assistance Request. The pharmacist is indicating that an override is needed based on an emergency/disaster situation recognized by the payer. Access more information from NCPDP on Emergency Preparedness.

Medicare Advantage and Part D plans are required to ensure enrollees have access to prescription drugs during an emergency. People who evacuated without their medications should be able to obtain a full-quantity, early refill at any pharmacy. This includes non-network pharmacies if the enrollee cannot reasonably be expected to obtain prescriptions at a network pharmacy. Refer to section Prescription Drug Benefit Manual Chapter 5, Section 50.12 if asked for documentation of this requirement.

The Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency, and the CMS 1135 waiver program is now available. Certain requirements for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP are modified to ensure needs are met and providers and suppliers acting in good faith are reimbursed. Find out more details on the CMS website.

Information regarding insulin storage and switching between products in an emergency is available from the FDA. This includes patients who need to switch from an insulin pump to injections.

CDC Health AdvisoryClinical Guidance for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Physician responses to e-prescription refill requests may be delayed if the physician's office has been damaged. E-prescribing best practice is to follow up with a prescriber by phone after 24 hours if an electronic refill request is unresolved. Keep in mind the specific emergency refill regulations listed below for areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Hurricane Irma

Florida Executive Order—Hurricane Irma

Section 4.G.—Pharmacists may dispense up to a 30 day emergency Rx maintenance fill to "persons who reside in an area or county covered under this executive order and to emergency personnel who have been activated by their state and local agency but who do not reside in an area or county covered by this executive order."

Section 8.-Medical professionals, social workers, and counselors with good/valid professional licenses issued by OTHER states may render services in Florida during this emergency for persons affected by this emergency as long as it is free of charge, and under auspices of American Red Cross or Florida Department of Health.

Hurricane Harvey

Patients taking Pfizer-branded products who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey may be eligible for prescription assistance. More information on the Pfizer RxPathways website or by calling 1-844-989-PATH (7284).

Sending an emergency campaign to your patients: PrescribeWellness is donating a recording service, at no cost, to pharmacies impacted by Hurricane Harvey. All you have to do is reach out to PrescribeWellness through phone (800-960-8147) or email (support@prescribewellness.com), and their support team will work with your pharmacy to set up a voice recording that can go right out to your patients. Help your patients by letting them know if there are pharmacy-specific special hours, emergency medications, and/or vaccinations, and if they need anything, to give you a call.