IMPORTANT Hurricane Information for NCMS Members

Sept. 12, 2018 – The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is in contact with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, about how our members should best prepare for the approaching storm as well as how you can help in the aftermath of the anticipated hurricane.

If you are willing and able to help staff shelters if needed, please email your name, cell phone number and your location to NCMS staff Elaine Ellis ( or Bob Seligson ( so we can relay this information to those coordinating the shelter staffing. This information will not be shared beyond the NCMS and the proper authorities. Watch your email and NCMS social media platforms for updated announcements.

You may also want to consider volunteering your skills to help affected areas by signing up with the American Red Cross. Clinicians may also want to contact their local hospital to inquire about opportunities to support the hurricane response and recovery.

For doctors and PAs from other states who are interested in volunteering, the NC Medical Board just passed an emergency policy to process temporary licenses during a disaster or State of Emergency. The new policy will allow volunteers to either use the existing hospital credentialing process, or apply for a limited emergency license. These measures will expand the response capabilities in our state. Learn more.

Here are some other helpful hints for your practice as the storm approaches.

  • Some practices may be concerned about storing vaccines if there is a power outage and the refrigeration system in their office is no longer working. Act now to help ensure safe keeping. Some suggestions include asking the local fire department or community hospital to store them since they have generators to ensure a power source. One practice said they send their vaccines home with staff if the staff still has power and/or backup generators.
  • NCTracks notified those who serve NC Medicaid and Health Choice patients that they may submit claims for early refill of medications during the state of emergency declared by the Governor. The notice reads: “NC Medicaid enrolled pharmacy providers should resubmit these claims with “09” (Emergency Preparedness) in the PA Type Code field and a valid value for an E.R. override in the Reason for Service, Professional Service and Result of Service fields to override a denial for an early refill. Do not place any values in the Submission Clarification Code field.” The notice reiterates that this will only be allowed during the state of emergency.
  • Medicaid will cover a physician/clinician visit for beneficiaries who are evacuated, including those evacuated out-of-state.
  • People who rely on electricity-dependent medical devices should notify their local Department of Social Services as soon as possible. This will help authorities prioritize services during a power outage. Local DSS contact information can be found here:
  • In the aftermath of the storm, medical teams may be mobilized to treat injuries in the hardest hit areas. We will keep you posted on any such initiatives organized by the state or agencies like the Red Cross. As noted above, if you are willing and able to volunteer, please email your name, cell phone number and location to NCMS staff at or and we will relay this information to the proper agencies. We will not share this information beyond the authorities coordinating the relief efforts.

Be sure to remind your patients of the following:

  • Follow mandatory evacuation orders and evacuation routes. This will be a dangerous storm. Do not ride it out.
  • Never drive through standing water—turn around, don’t drown!
  • Don’t use gas-powered generators/burners inside your house.
  • Stock up and have ready emergency kits, take care of pets, check in with neighbors.
  • Make sure you have your medicines and fill your prescriptions before the storm hits.  Many insurers are allowing early refills to make it easier.
  • Call 211 for non-emergency needs
  • Download the ReadyNC app to a smartphone. This app provides details on how to prepare an emergency kit, where shelters are open, and other essential information. ReadyNC also may be accessed online at
  • Look out for NC Emergency Management’s latest updates at gov/florence.

For those in the Food and Nutrition Service program:

  • Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards can be used at any authorized retailer, even if they are in a different state.
  • Current Food and Nutrition Services households (people receiving SNAP benefits) that have a food loss may request replacement benefits through their county DSS.
  • Lost/Damaged EBT cards can be replaced by calling the EBT Call Center at 1-888-622-7328.

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