Cleanup, Recovery Continue in Harvey-Affected Areas

Since Hurricane Harvey slammed the Texas Coast on Aug. 25, state agencies have deployed resources to the affected areas, health plans have made policy changes, millions of dollars have been raised through donations, and thousands of Texas physicians have put in extra time and effort to address the public health concerns. 

This page will be updated regularly. Check back for the most up-to-date information.

TMA | TMLT | Volunteer Opportunities | Public and Physician Health | Commercial Health Plans |  Medicare | Medicaid and CHIP | Practice Management | Medications | Out-of-State Physicians | Other Helpful Links  

TMA Awards Nearly $425,000 to Harvey-Affected Physicians

The TMA Disaster Relief Program has awarded a total of $424,590 to 37 practices that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey during two rounds of application reviews.

The practices, which employ 116 physicians and 967 non-physician staff, are located throughout federally designated disaster areas, including Beaumont, Columbus, Houston, Orange, Aransas Pass, and Victoria. Most had extensive water damage due to flooding, which has required remodeling, relocating to a temporary location, and replacing equipment.

Assistance is available for practices in FEMA-declared counties that sustained uninsured, underinsured, or nonreimbursable property damage and do not have adequate funding to cover the damage. This includes relocating or rehabilitating their medical office, replacing equipment, rebuilding patient records, and paying temporary operating expenses, including rent for temporary offices and other working capital requirements.

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The TMA Disaster Relief Program has received almost $1 million in donations to help physicians whose practices sustained physical Harvey-related damage not covered by insurance or other sources of assistance. 

Funds have come from generous donors throughout Texas and the United States as well as The Physicians Foundation; the American Medical Association; the medical societies of California, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Harris County; and New York's Henry Schein Cares Foundation.  

Make a tax-deductible donation today to support TMA's Disaster Relief Program, administered by The Physicians Benevolent Fund, which provides grants to affected physicians.

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  • TMA has full-time practice management experts with diverse backgrounds and experience to assist physicians with their practice needs. TMA is fully staffed, ready, and able to assist with the rebuilding of practices in Harvey-affected areas. If you are in one of the disaster-declared counties and require assistance, TMA Practice Consulting has preferential pricing to help you get back on your feet so you can start caring for your patients again. Visit TMA Practice Consulting for more information.
  • More information on Hurricane Harvey recovery can be found in TMA's Disaster Preparedness & Response Resource Center.
  • Physicians looking for more information on Hurricane Harvey can contact the TMA Knowledge Center at knowledge[at]texmed[dot]org or by calling (800) 880-7955 or (512) 370-1544. 

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  • TMLT, a self-insured, not-for-profit trust established by TMA, provides reliable coverage against medical liability claims and more. TMLT is ready to provide any guidance physicians affected by Harvey might need. Contact the TMLT at 800-580-8658 ext. 5050 or email at customerservice[at]tmlt[dot]org.

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 Volunteer Opportunities 

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Public and Physician Health 

  • An estimated 93 Texans have died as a result of Hurricane Harvey, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). More
  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, 213 out-of-state physicians have come to Texas working under a temporary license to provide disaster relief. More
  • When the staff of a Houston-area children’s urgent care clinic saw security-camera images of brown, murky Hurricane Harvey floodwater submerging their waiting room, they knew it was bad. More
  • Hurricane Harvey has been a disaster for the Houston area by any definition, but the medical response at major shelters has been anything but. More

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Commercial Health Plans 

  • Commercial health plans and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) have posted some information and guidance on policy updates related to Hurricane Harvey. More
  • The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has suggested that health insurers and HMOs waive common out-of-network penalties and restrictions on health insurance — including the need to obtain prior authorizations — for people seeking medical or dental care in counties that have been declared a disaster area. More
  • Healthcare Ready, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that coordinates private-sector response to health care disasters, published helpful information related to prescriptions, including phone numbers for major health plans.   

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  • Thanks to ongoing advocacy efforts by TMA, certain Medicare enrollment screening requirements will be suspended for physicians and health care providers and suppliers who are assisting with Hurricane Harvey recovery in Texas and Louisiana. More
  • Physicians or practices affected by Harvey that will be unable to meet the requirements for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Advancing Care Information category can file a hardship exception application. More
  • TMA is requesting that physicians affected by Hurricane Harvey have the option to be exempt from Medicare’s 2017 Quality Payment Program (QPP), which is being implemented this year under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). More

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Medicaid and CHIP  

  • The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has published a lengthy frequently asked questions document on a wide array of Medicaid and CHIP policy changes and guidance designed to minimize disruption of services while ensuring physicians get paid. More
  • Patients enrolled in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Healthy Texas Women program who live in one of the 41 counties designated as a federal disaster area will be given a six-month extension of medical benefits. More

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Practice Management 

  • Homeowners, renters, and businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey can register for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) even if they are covered by insurance or have registered with other agencies. More
  • Physicians treating patients in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey or people displaced from the storm can obtain medical record information by messaging regional health insurance exchanges (HIEs) through the DocbookMD app. More
  • Physicians looking for easily accessible information on disease control, drug dosing, and drug interaction can turn to Epocrates Mobile as they respond to Hurricane Harvey. The mobile app is being offered to free to all TMA members for one year from the date of activation. More
  • If you own or manage a practice that has been affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has several online resources, including a “frequently asked questions” section that addresses common and important questions employers have been asking related to Harvey.
  • Physician and physician assistant licensees whose current permit expired Aug. 31 will automatically be extended through Nov. 30

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  • Physicians can prescribe Schedule II medications over the phone for the time necessary to treat emergency conditions, but a written and signed prescription must be provided to the pharmacy within seven days.
  • Physicians who are trying to prescribe medication to patients displaced by Hurricane Harvey can access medication history through several services, including their electronic health records (EHR) provider’s e-prescribing module. More
  • Pharmacists can provide emergency refills for up to 30 days based on professional judgment.
  • Certain state requirements for prescription authority agreements between supervising physicians and advanced practice registered nurses and/or physician assistants have been waived, but supervising physicians remain responsible for the conduct of PAs and APRNs under their supervision.

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Out-of-State Physicians 

  • Licensed health care professionals who are employed in good standing by a hospital in another state have been allowed to practice in Texas during the response to Hurricane Harvey. More

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Other Helpful Links

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Last Updated On

May 10, 2018