Early Wednesday, January 9th the Mayor of Boston declared a Public Health Emergency in response to a very severe flu season. In interviews with USA Today Mayor Menino indicates that they are trying to drive home the severity of the flu but other things come with a governmental declaration of disaster, suspension and eligibility for waivers concerning certain rules and ordinances.
As it relates to hospital the major question arises around a waiver for 1135 concerning alternative care sites which was hotly discussed during the H1N1 outbreak of 2009. It was such a big deal and alternate care sites such as Flu Tents were common that CMS issued an FAQ about it. One of the key steps or necessities of such a waiver is a governmental disaster declaration.
Depending on where you read some references a presidential declaration and other places it just mentions a declaration as a necessary element for a waiver of 1135. There is enough ambiguity for the lawyers to earn their keep.
Here are some links to more documents regarding recent waivers:
Requesting an 1135 Waiver:
CMS Hurricane Sandy Waiver: http://www.nj.gov/health/healthfacilities/documents/hurricane_sandy_1135_blanket_waivers_approved.pdf
Secretary Sebilius Notifying Congress regarding Sandy Waiver:
WAIVER OR MODIFICATION OF REQUIREMENTS UNDER SECTION 1135 OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT as it relates to H1N1: