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Thursday, March 28, 2023

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HHS Secretary Becerra Declares Public Health Emergency for Mississippi in Response to Severe Weather

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra today declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) for the state of Mississippi to address the health impacts of recent severe weather. The declaration follows President Biden’s emergency declaration and gives the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), health care providers and suppliers, greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

“With today’s declaration and waiver, HHS is helping ensure that residents of Mississippi have continuous access to the care they need as the cleanup and recovery efforts from this severe storm continue,” said Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell. “We are working closely with state, local, and tribal health authorities to provide federal support from ASPR as needed.”

HHS also has information available from the HHS emPOWER program, a partnership between ASPR and CMS, to support public health emergency planning and response activities. The program provides valuable information on the number of Medicare beneficiaries who rely on electricity-dependent durable medical equipment and certain healthcare services, such as dialysis, oxygen tanks, or home health care, to help anticipate, plan for, and respond to the needs of at-risk residents in potentially impacted areas.

In declaring the public health emergency and authorizing flexibilities for CMS beneficiaries, Secretary Becerra acted within his authority under the Public Health Service Act and Social Security Act. These actions and flexibilities are retroactive to March 24, 2023.

Additional information regarding Public Health Emergency declarations can be found at

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