Harvey Death Toll Reaches 93

An estimated 93 Texans have died as a result of Hurricane Harvey, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Wind, rain, and floods were responsible for 62 deaths, DSHS said, while 26 were caused by "unsafe or unhealthy conditions," including electrocution, traffic crashes, infections, fires, and burns. Another five deaths possibly related to Harvey still are being investigated, officials say.

A final death toll is not expected to be released until next year, DSHS says.

Meanwhile, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced that copayments for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be waived for services provided Aug. 25 through Nov. 30 for CHIP members living in or displaced from a Hurricane Harvey FEMA-declared disaster county.

Managed care organizations (MCOs) will compensate physicians and other health care providers for waived CHIP copays, according to HHSC. 

Details and more announcements are on HHSC's updated Harvey FAQ page. Those updates include an emergency proclamation that requires MCOs to provide coverage for prescription drug supplies of up to 90 days, including early refills, which is set to expire Oct. 31.

HHSC has created an emergency procedure that allows pharmacists to override a "refill too soon" error code for people enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP affected by Harvey. 

The order also includes patients enrolled in the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CHSCN) and Healthy Texas Women programs who receive limited prescription drug benefits for those programs, HHSC officials said.

"Pharmacy staff should use their professional judgment when filling prescriptions to ensure adherence to state and federal law," officials said.

More information on Hurricane Harvey, including a video of a panel discussion on the relief response to Harvey, can be found on TMA's website.

The panel, which was held during TMA's 2017 Fall Conference in September, featured David Teuscher, MD, Dallas regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Kirk Cole, senior adviser to the DSHS commissioner. It was moderated by TMA President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD. The panelists recounted how federal, state, and local authorities worked together to battle the storm's impact. 

Action, Oct. 17, 2017

Published On

October 16, 2017

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