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News & Press: Updates for Members

Hurricane Dorian Resources for Social Workers

Thursday, September 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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Click here for update: 9/10/2019: NC DHHS Hurricane Update


Click here for update: 9/09/2019: NC Medicaid Temporary Flexibilities due to Hurricane Dorian


Click here for update: 9/06/2019 Crucial Information: DHHS Support due to Hurricane Dorian for NC Medicaid Providers and Recipients


Click here for update: 9/06/2019 Update on Response to Hurricane Dorian from DHHS


Dear Colleagues,

The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) is in contact with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services about how our members can help now and in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. The Department is organizing and watching the impact of the storm has has already staged resources to respond in the aftermath of this disaster. We will communicate with our members as receive updates.

Volunteers Needed
NASW-NC is a founding member of the North Carolina Disaster Response Network and know many of our members are mental health first responders with the American Red Cross or LME/MCO and have already been deployed at shelters throughout the state. The American Red Cross is still in need of Disaster Mental Health and Shelter volunteers. Please learn more here: Complete the application, back ground check and provide licensing details in profile. Please let me know directly if you have submitted an application and I can pass your name on to the Red Cross directly.

Update from NC Department of Health and Human Services

People receiving Medicaid can fill prescriptions early.
Effective September 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.
Shelter for medically fragile patients is open.
A 50-bed State Medical Support Shelter (SMSS) for medically fragile patients is now open in Clayton. Individuals who need active monitoring, management or intervention from a medical professional to maintain their health must contact their county emergency management office to request placement in the SMSS.  

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.

Shelters are accessible and supportive of those with behavioral illnesses or intellectual and developmental disabilities.
DHHS is working with its partners so that shelters have, for example, calming rooms to support individuals with autism or other disabilities, when a congregant setting may not be conducive for their wellbeing. For families concerned about sheltering those with autism or in need of calming rooms, contact the Red Cross disability advisor at 720-618-3513 for help identifying a shelter near you that could provide support.

Department of Health and Human Services has launched a Hurricane Dorian webpage with resources.

In the Works
The Department is in the process of:
  • Seeking authorization to provide early refills of medications needed by HIV patients.
  • Developing a waiver to offer Disaster SNAP benefits if a presidential individual assistance declaration if a disaster is declared. Waivers are drafted and are ready for storm specific data which will expedite North Carolina’s submission for a Disaster SNAP program, allowing for timely distribution of food assistance.
  • Taking the necessary steps to ensure pregnant women, infants and young children have access to WIC benefits. 
  • Ensuring shelters have access to live-saving Naloxone in the event of opioid misuse.
  • Securing assistive technology devices and equipment to help individuals who are displaced due to the storm or who have devices or equipment that is destroyed or lost. 

NASW-NC has gathered more resources specific to the Hurricane Dorian response here: Disaster Response Resources for Social Workers. These resources include where and how to donate money and food, Medicaid reimbursement, shelters, hurricane loans, federal disaster declaration information and how to volunteer. We will continue to update this document as we receive more resources. All updates will be made on this page.

Please don't hesitate to let me know if there is additional information social workers should be aware of as the response unfolds over the weeks and months.
Thank you for being a vital part of this amazing profession. Your NASW membership is critical to the work we do to support the social workers.

Be safe,

Valerie Arendt, MSW, MPP
Executive Director

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