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Rep. Cole Announces Public Health Emergency in Oklahoma

September 8, 2005
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency in Oklahoma. Declaration of a public health emergency streamlines procedures the government must follow in awarding grants or contracts to help prevent or treat health threats.

"With this declaration by the Health and Human Services Department, doctors and other health care providers can continue their work without fear that government regulations will prevent them from being reimbursed for their supplies. This allows health care providers to work efficiently and quickly and without the burden of paperwork and other regulations while helping people affected by Hurricane Katrina," Representative Tom Cole said.

According to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a public health emergency act waivers section 1135 of the Social Security Act, "only to the extent necessary to ensure that sufficient health care items and services are available to meet the needs of individuals enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP programs and to ensure that health care providers that furnish such items and services in good faith, but are unable to comply with one or more of these requirements as a result of the effects of Hurricane Katrina, may be reimbursed for such items and services and exempted from sanctions for such noncompliance, absent from any determination of fraud and abuse.