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Community News
HHS Takes Steps to Ensure Elderly, Children Get Services
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 21 page 9-9

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced last month the release of $1.3 million in funds to the New York State Office for the Aging and the Virginia Department for the Aging to help seniors affected by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11. The grant represents part of the $126 million in HHS disaster relief funding announced on September 21.

The $1.3 million, together with an award of $500,000 made to New York immediately after the terrorist attacks, is to ensure that elderly people continue to receive critical services, including counseling for mental health needs.

Moreover, just days after the attacks, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of HHS, announced that it was "here to do whatever it can to assure that all Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP beneficiaries have access to the emergency or urgent care they need." (SCHIP stands for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.)

Clinicians were instructed that if they worked in an area directly affected by the attacks and a beneficiary sought help, they were to provide emergency care regardless of the patient’s enrollment status. "We will work with you to ensure that you receive payment for these covered services," said CMS.

More information is available by calling (410) 786-2000 or accessing the CMS Web site at cms.hhs.gov/media/emergency.asp.

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