HHS approves Medicaid waiver for Katrina survivors

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The Department of Health and Human Services has reached an agreement with Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) to allow the state to draw from an uncompensated care fund to help pay nursing homes, hospitals, doctors, and other providers that give emergency treatment to thousands of displaced people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The agreement makes Louisiana one of 13 states that have the emergency Section 1115 demonstration programs to assure that storm victims have immediate access to care, and to assure that health providers receive compensation.
In the Nov. 10 announcement, HHS said the care fund will include coverage for services not included in Louisiana's standard Medicaid benefit package.

It also will grant temporary enrollment for up to five months for a number of survivors, including those people who need long-term care and who meet specified income requirements.