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News & Press: Updates for Members

Update on Hurricane Dorian Response

Friday, September 6, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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9/6/2019 Update from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on the Response to Hurricane Dorian

Actions that are new since yesterday’s email are labeled NEW.


NEW -  Shelters have naloxone.

Naloxone for opioid-related overdose was sent to shelters today.


NEW -  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 This automatic renewal will continue through the weekend in storm-affected counties.


NEW – 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.


NEW – 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.


NEW – Temporary flexibilities in place for out-of-state behavioral providers to volunteer.

Governor Cooper has issued Executive Order 105, which temporarily waives North Carolina licensing requirements for behavioral health providers who are licensed in another state, so they volunteer their services for those impacted by Hurricane Dorian. This includes psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and certified substance abuse treatment professionals. Volunteer information available at


UPDATE - Shelters are accessible and supportive of those with behavioral illnesses or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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.


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. 


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. 


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


In the Works

The Department is in the process of:

  • NEW - Recruiting volunteer teams of Environmental Health Specialists (EHSs) to come into storm-impacted counties to conduct inspections of restaurants, other food establishments, private septic systems and private drinking wells so that they can quickly return to normal operations.
  • 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.   

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