Resources and Information for Pharmacy Practitioners and Patients Affected by Hurricane Florence
Temporary Pharmacy Closures/Relocations Due to Hurricane Florence - last updated 10/5/18
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018
PHARMACIES THAT HAVE MOVED TO TEMPORARY LOCATIONS DUE TO HURRICANE FLORENCE. Thank you to pharmacists who have submitted temporary pharmacy locations to the Board using the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. Board staff continue to collect and post those relocations here -– http://www.ncbop.org/HurricaneInfoTempClosures.htm -- to assist the public.
If you anticipate that you will continue to be in the temporary location beyond October 31, 2018, the pharmacist-manager should log on to the pharmacy’s profile at the Board’s Facility Management portal and utilize the Address Change function to change the address in the database. There is no charge associated with this change. Please allow 3 business days for the change to be processed.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018
NC MEDICAID FURTHER EXTENDS WAIVERS FOR EARLY PRESCRIPTION REFILLS AND PRIOR AUTHORIZATIONS IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE FLORENCE. North Carolina Governor Cooper has declared a state of emergency for North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence. See the NC declaration of a state of emergency here.
The destruction of property and flooding caused by Hurricane Florence has caused situations where North Carolina Medicaid and Health Choice beneficiaries in impacted areas may continue to require an early refill of their medications or medications that require prior authorization. For this reason, NC Medicaid has extended the waivers granted by CMS which allow for the following:
- Early refill of all covered medications beginning Tuesday, September 11th through Friday, October 5th.
- Waive prior authorization requirements for all covered medications beginning Friday, September 14th through Friday, October 5th.
- Waive prior authorization requirements for medically necessary medical equipment and supplies beginning Friday, September 14th through Friday, October 5th.
NC Medicaid will continue to evaluate the need to extend the above waivers and will communicate any further extensions and/or changes.
Pharmacy providers may call the NCTracks Pharmacy Call Center at 1-866-246-8505 for additional information or assistance.
Additionally, NC DHHS has created the website below with specific info related to our NC Medicaid disaster response/recovery efforts to assist our beneficiaries and providers.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2018
NC MEDICAID TEMPORARY PROVISIONS DURING HURRICANE FLORENCE RECOVERY. North Carolina Medicaid has secured authority from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to move forward with many interim Medicaid policies adjustments, and are continuing to work with our federal and state partners to seek additional remedies, to assist providers and patients through the Hurricane Florence recovery.
NC Medicaid has also launched a NC Medicaid Hurricane Florence Response & Recovery webpage on the NC Medicaid website, that will continue to be updated as policies continue to be enhanced to assist recovery efforts, and to share other helpful information.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2018
INFORMATION FOR PHARMACISTS SEEKING OPPORTUNITIES TO VOLUNTEER FOR HURRICANE FLORENCE DISASTER RELIEF. Pharmacists who wish to volunteer for Hurricane Florence recovery efforts may find the following resources helpful: Registration through https://www.nc.gov/volunteer; Registration with Carolina Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, https://dart-ncvolunteer.communityos.org/volunteer-registration; Registration with the American Red Cross, www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html.
A number of resources are also provided and linked here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/hurricane-florence.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2018
INSURER CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS AND PHARMACISTS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE FLORENCE. Patients affected and/or displaced by Hurricane Florence and providers providing pharmacy services to such patients are directed to the following information, which provides contact numbers and information for insurers for help with prescription coverage: http://www.ncbop.org/PDF/InsurerGuidanceForImpactedStatesHurricaneFlorence091918.pdf.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2018
NC HEALTHCONNEX ACTION TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS FOR PATIENTS AFFECTED OR DISPLACED BY HURRICANE FLORENCE. As North Carolinians and bordering states recover from Hurricane Florence, North Carolina HealthConnex (a project of the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority) has asked the Board to alert providers that the NC HealthConnex team built emergent connections to neighboring and regional HIEs via the eHealth Exchange for the care of patients displaced by the storm.
The NC HealthConnex team opened the gateway for bidirectional query and exchange of patient records via the national eHealth Exchange to:
- Coastal Connect HIE (Wilmington)
- ETHIN (East Tennessee)
- GaHIN (Atlanta)
- GRAChiE (Augusta, Ga.)
- MedVirginia (Richmond, Va.)
- SCHIEX (South Carolina)
- VA HIE (Veterans Administration)
With the storm forcing patients to seek care outside of their communities, health care providers in their organization may have a need to utilize the clinical portal to look up patient health information. Many of your members should have a Participation Agreement with the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority; however, if they do not, they are able to sign a Full Participation Agreement located on our website. Participant Account Administrators will need to provide portal credentials to these users.
Existing participants can direct questions regarding portal access to the NC HealthConnex SAS Support Desk at HIESupport@sas.com.
New participants may direct questions to our outreach team at email@example.com or (919) 754-6912.
Additionally, NC HealthConnex encourage providers, patients, and other to download the ReadyNC app to your smartphone as it provides details on where shelters are open, road closures and evacuation routes, and other essential information. ReadyNC also may be accessed at https://readync.org/EN/Index.html.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
ADDITIONAL HURRICANE FLORENCE RESPONSE UPDATES FROM NORTH CAROLINA MEDICAID.
1. South Carolina Medicaid is allowing expedited enrollment for North Carolina-based providers who need to provide services to South Carolina Medicaid beneficiaries. More information found in these two bulletins:
2. North Carolina Medicaid has established RxOpen – www.healthcareready.org – to assist beneficiaries and providers in locating pharmacies that are open and available to dispense prescriptions.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2018
BOARD ISSUES WAIVER OF CERTAIN PHARMACY PRACTICE ACT REQUIREMENTS TO FACILITATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE DURING AND AFTER HURRICANE FLORENCE. Today (September 13, 2018), the Board of Pharmacy exercised its authority under G.S. 90-85.25(a) to waive certain requirements of the North Carolina Pharmacy Practice Act to facilitate the provision of patient care during and after Hurricane Florence.
As a lead-in to the policy, pharmacists should note that Board staff and members certainly are aware of the significant public health issues that will be created by this storm and its aftermath. Board staff and members are aware of the often superhuman efforts that pharmacists and pharmacies expend to ensure that patient needs are being met as well as possible under these circumstances. Be assured. Board members and staff support your efforts to ensure that patient needs are being met. Deviations from the letter of pharmacy law or rule are almost certainly going to be necessary to do so. Board members and staff understand this and know that you will use your compassion and good judgment to deal with the crisis.
The Board’s policy specifically authorizes, for the duration of the declared emergency, any pharmacist or nationally-certified pharmacy technician who has a license in good standing in another state to practice in the location of the state of emergency without being licensed by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy, so long as a minimal notice requirement is satisfied.
The Board’s policy also specifically authorizes existing permits, as necessary, to operate in a temporary location without obtaining any sort of additional permit, again so long as a minimal notice requirement is satisfied.
The policy also provides for waivers of other deviations from the Pharmacy Practice Act and rules, subject to notification to, and approval by, the Executive Director.
The policy, which specifies the minimal notice requirements mentioned above, is found here: http://www.ncbop.org/PDF/NCBOPHurricanePolicy4814-4812-3762.pdf. The referenced notification email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – is already operative.
INFORMATION FOR NORTH CAROLINA PHARMACISTS OR PHARMACY TECHNICIANS WHO MAY WISH TO PROVIDE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA OR VIRGINIA. North Carolina pharmacists or pharmacy technicians who may wish to provide emergency assistance in South Carolina or Virginia are advised that waivers of South Carolina and Virginia licensure requirements to do so are in place.
South Carolina: A pharmacist not licensed in South Carolina, but licensed and in good standing in another state, may assist with relief efforts during a declared state of emergency. The pharmacist must have some type of identification to verify current licensure in another state and must be engaged in legitimate relief effort during an emergency situation. S.C.G.S. 40-43-170. More information available at www.llr.sc.gov/POL/Pharmacy/ or (803) 896-4700.
Virginia: Special allowances for dispensing drugs and authorizing assistance from out-of-state pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have been implemented in Virginia. More information available at http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/pharmacy/default.htm or (804) 367-4456.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2018 - STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN NORTH CAROLINA IN ADVANCE OF HURRICANE FLORENCE
Governor Cooper has declared a state of emergency for North Carolina in anticipation of potential severe weather caused by the approach of Hurricane Florence. The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy reminds pharmacy owners, pharmacy managers, and persons-in-charge of DME businesses to ready their disaster plans for the preservation of records, medications and other inventory. Additionally, pharmacies use Rule .1815 (detailed below) to provide emergency prescription refills. Joshua Kohler, NCBOP Director of Investigations is your contact for questions: (919) 246-1050 x231 or (919) 698-1435.
Additionally, please see the NC Department of Insurance's 9/10/18 bulletin reminding health benefit plans of compliance requirements for operations under a state of emergency for purposes of obtaining extra prescriptions during a state of emergency or disaster.
21 NCAC 46 .1815 EMERGENCY PRESCRIPTION REFILL DUE TO INTERRUPTION OF MEDICAL SERVICES
In the event a pharmacist or device and medical equipment permit holder receives a request for a prescription refill and the pharmacist or permit holder is unable to readily obtain refill authorization from the prescriber because of the prescriber's inability to provide medical services to the patient, the pharmacist or permit holder may dispense a one-time emergency supply of up to 90 days of the prescribed medication, provided that:
(1) The prescription is not for a Schedule II controlled substance;
(2) The medication is essential to the maintenance of life or to the continuation of therapy in a chronic condition;
(3) In the pharmacist's or permit holder's professional judgment, the interruption of therapy might reasonably produce undesirable health consequences;
(4) The dispensing pharmacist or permit holder creates a written order entered in the pharmacy's automated data processing system containing all of the prescription information required by Section .2300 of these Rules and signs that order;
(5) The dispensing pharmacist or permit holder notifies, or makes a good faith attempt to notify, the prescriber or the prescriber's office of the emergency dispensing within 72 hours after such dispensing.