Here are some important tips for Ochsner Health Plan members.
By Ann Kay Logarbo, MD, Medical Director, Ochsner Health Plan
Louisianians are a resilient people. We supported our New Orleans Saints for decades before we won that Lombardi trophy; we were knocked down by a storm called Katrina and pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps; we battled through a pandemic and are rebuilding the state and the lives we love. But resilience and preparedness are not the same. Being prepared for an emergency, be it hurricane, flood or whatever life throws us is the key to preserving health. Hopefully, we have avoided a major hurricane this season, but the preparation for an emergency is the same regardless of the event, so let’s dive into that.
First, you must take an account of your special health needs….
1. Are you using medical equipment that requires electricity? (i.e., ventilator, CPAP, nebulizer, etc.). If this applies to you, you should consider following emergency recommendations if evacuation is suggested. Assure you get lodging where electricity will not be affected by power outage.
2. Do you have special health care needs that must be met? Examples of special health care needs are treatment for cancer, heart failure or a chronic condition, such as dialysis?
3. Are you on medications that may be difficult to get if the pharmacy becomes unavailable?
1. Make a list of all your providers and their contact numbers.
2. Store important papers and a copy of your OHP card, driver’s license, SS card, etc., in a waterproof plastic bag and in a secure place.
3. Make a list of all your medications taken daily, including dosage and how often. Contact the pharmacy for 30-day supplies in case access becomes unavailable.
4. If you have special health care needs such as cancer or heart failure, speak with your provider office beforehand and ask for a copy of your treatment regimen in case your provider/records become unavailable.
5. If you will not be leaving your home, assure you have access to a generator for medical equipment that uses electricity. Additionally, if eligible, call your electricity provider and apply as one needed to have electricity for survival. This will require special forms filled out by your provider, but if qualified, your address is placed on the “first to reconnect list”. This list is reserved for those whose medical equipment sustains life.
6. Assure you have enough drinking water and food to sustain you for at least a week.
7. Prepare a bag with at least one week of clothing in case you must evacuate quickly.
8. Don’t forget preparation for your pets with food and shelter.
IMPORTANT NOTES TO REMEMBER IN THE FOLLOWING SCENARIOS:
- The President has declared it an emergency or disaster. Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) online, at FEMA.gov, or call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) to see if your area is affected. TTY users should call 1-800-462-7585.
- A Governor has declared it an emergency or disaster. Visit your state government’s official website to find out if your area is affected.
- The Secretary of HHS has declared a public health emergency. Visit ASPR.hhs.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to find out if your area is affected. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
At Ochsner Health Plan (OHP), we have made provisions to assure you can get the care you need if temporarily leaving the area becomes necessary.
Seeing doctors or other providers
Ochsner Health Plan (OHP) will ensure access to your benefits during a public health emergency or disaster. When one of these events is declared, and until it ends, OHP cover out-of-network services and benefits at network rates. Additionally, if an emergency is declared, OHP will waive requirements for prior authorizations for out-of-network services.
These special provisions will remain in effect until the emergency declaration has ended or the disruption in access to healthcare resolved.
Getting your prescriptions in a declared emergency
Medications will continue to fill at any of the 50,000 pharmacies nationwide in our pharmacy network. For a list of pharmacies, please visit https://www.medimpact.com/web/login, or call the Pharmacy Help Desk at 1-800-910-1837, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
*Please keep any receipts for any medical services or prescription medications that you must pay for out of pocket during this time and OHP will review reimbursing you appropriately after the disaster has subsided.
To get more information about getting care from doctors or other providers during an emergency or disaster, please contact Ochsner Health Plan’s Members Services at 1-833-674-2112. (TTY users should call 711). We are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week from October 1st to March 31st and Monday through Friday April 1st to September 30th.
To get more information on getting prescription drugs during an emergency or disaster, please contact Ochsner Health Plan’s Pharmacy Help Desk at 1-800-910-1837 (TTY: 711). Hours of Operation: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
OHP members on dialysis have access to a nationwide network of dialysis centers through DaVita during an emergency.
In any emergency, the important thing is to stay safe. Never drive through standing water, never attempt to move downed power lines, never bring generators indoors. OHP will be here for you during and through the emergency and we want to assure you stay safe!
EMERGENCY DISASTER POLICY
OHP Members: For additional information about how to prepare and what to do in case of an emergency, visit Ochsner Health Plan’s ‘Emergency Disaster Policy’ in our ‘Resources’ section or click here: ‘OHP Emergency Disaster Policy’.