Following up on the disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico issued by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Secretary Xavier Becerra has declared a public health emergency for Puerto Rico and issued a Waiver or Modification of Requirements under Social Security Act Section 1135 due to emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Fiona.
Pursuant to this relief, the HHS Office of Civil RIghts (“OCR”) also has published a bulletin on the Limited Waiver of HIPAA Sanctions and Penalties as a Result of Emergency Conditions in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. More information about how the HIPAA Privacy Rule applies in a public health emergency is available on the OCR’S HIPAA Emergency Preparedness, Planning, and Response page or using the HIPAA Disclosures for Emergency Preparedness Decision Tool.
Additionally, the HHS OCR Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Ensuring Language Access and Effective Communication provides information and resources for emergency responders and officials to help ensure individuals have equal access to emergency services, including language access and effective communication.
For information about emergency requirements for long-term care facilities, visit the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule page.
Other agencies and Departments within HHS, the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Services and other federal agencies also have or are expected to issue guidance and relief in response to the President’s Emergency Declaration.
We hope this update is helpful. For more information about the these or other health or other legal, management or public policy developments, please contact the author Cynthia Marcotte Stamer via e-mail or via telephone at (214) 452 -8297.
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About the Author
Recognized by her peers as a Martindale-Hubble “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%) and “Top Rated Lawyer” with special recognition LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: ERISA & Employee Benefits,” “Health Care” and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is a practicing attorney board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and management consultant, author, public policy advocate and lecturer widely known for 30+ years of health industry and other management work, public policy leadership and advocacy, coaching, teachings, and publications.
A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, Vice Chair of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) International Section Life Sciences and Health Committee, Past Chair of the ABA Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Scribe for the ABA JCEB Annual Agency Meeting with HHS-OCR, past chair of the the ABA RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group and current co-Chair of its Welfare Benefit Committee, Ms. Stamer is most widely recognized for her decades of pragmatic, leading edge work, scholarship and thought leadership on health and managed care industry legal, public policy and operational concerns.
Ms. Stamer’s work throughout her 30 plus year career has focused heavily on working with health care and managed care, health and other employee benefit plan, insurance and financial services and other public and private organizations and their technology, data, and other service providers and advisors domestically and internationally with legal and operational compliance and risk management, performance and workforce management, regulatory and public policy and other legal and operational concerns.
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