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FHA Alert: Hurricane Ian Advisory

09/26/2022 4:00:00AM

Florida Hospital CEOs,

As you know, the entire state is closely watching Hurricane Ian. Over the course of the next several days, the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) will be monitoring and closely monitoring and providing regular and daily updates as they come available to inform both your hospitals and communities. FHA will be releasing regular data updates and resources on our Emergency Management page on the website. We have scheduled daily calls at noon to hear from state officials, to share additional information and resources, and to host a venue for any questions, concerns or needs that you may have.

Should you or your staff need any assistance coordinating resources or calls, please feel free to reach out to John Wilgis who can assist with coordination. AHCA continues to stress the importance of timely updating your status in the Health Facility Reporting System. It is critically important that you provide the appropriate notifications regarding any evacuation decisions. We understand that more than 4 hospitals are currently planning evacuations but only 4 had reported into the system when the data was pulled this afternoon.

We are working closely with state officials and we are available to escalate any concerns or questions you may have. Additionally, we are in regular contact with our partners at the Florida Health Care Association—please let us know if there are any issues that need to be addressed related to engagement with local nursing homes and assisted living facilities. On our call at 5 p.m. today AHCA shared that many of the 1135 waiver flexibilities remain in place as a result of the current federal public health emergency – they are reviewing additional requests that may need to be made to the federal government including with Medicaid. We have also reached out to the Office of Insurance Regulation to request their assistance in directing commercial health plans to lift prior authorizations and implement other important flexibilities. We will keep you posted on those developments.

Total available beds: 12,589

Available bed percent: 21.3%

Percent of hospitals reporting: 87.92%

Percent of nursing homes reporting: 96.40%

Hospitals evacuating: 4

Affected patients: 86


Storm Information


A turn toward the north-northwest is expected today followed by a northward motion on Tuesday with a slightly slower forward speed. A turn toward the north-northeast is forecast on Tuesday night or early Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to pass near or over western Cuba tonight and early Tuesday. Ian will then pass west of the Florida Keys late Tuesday, and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday. Rapid strengthening is expected during the next day or so, and Ian is forecast to become a major hurricane tonight when it is near western Cuba.

Complete weather information related to Hurricane Ian is available from the National Hurricane Center. Local advisories and information are available from the National Weather Service.

Federal Actions

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. approved an Emergency Declaration for Florida. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Florida to supplement the state, tribal and local response efforts due to emergency conditions resulting from Tropical Storm Ian beginning September 23 and continuing.

In support, Health and Human Services and FEMA Region IV staff remain engaged to support public health and medical needs. The HHS Secretary’s Operation Center remains activated at Level I.

State Actions

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)

The State Emergency Operations Center is fully activated to Level 1. This means that all primary and support agencies under the state plan are notified. The State Emergency Operations Center is staffed by the Division of Emergency Management personnel and all Emergency Support Functions. The FHA is staffing the State Emergency Operations Center to advocate for the needs of hospitals and health systems. 

In preparation for Hurricane Ian's landfall Governor DeSantis declared a State of Emergency in all 67 counties and the State Emergency Operations Center is activated at Level One.

Other political subdivision emergency ordinances, declarations, and orders are available online:

A map and list of County Emergency Managers and their contact information is available online. More information from the Florida Division of Emergency Management is available on their FloridaDisaster.Org website.

The FDEM GeoPortal provides an interactive map allowing anyone to explore a situational map, evacuation zones, evacuation routes, and traffic conditions in real-time.

A list of Essential Elements of Information (e.g., evacuation orders, local states of emergency, shelter information, school closures, etc.) are provided daily by County Emergency Management Agencies.

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)

Pursuant to Section 408.821(4) Florida Statute, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), in partnership with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), is requesting all health care providers report their statuses for Hurricane Ian regarding census, available beds, evacuation status, and generator status information into the Health Facility Reporting System by 10:00 am, ET daily and when your situation changes until further notice. Accurate data and timely participation will help ensure we have up-to-date information for your facility.

When reporting your generator status, remember that the question "generator currently running" should only be answered yes if you have lost power and have your generator providing power at the time you are reporting. You will only be able to report your generator status if you have added your generator details in the "Generators" section; please ensure all details are entered.

If you require assistance reporting information into the system for your facility, please get in touch with your AHCA Hospital and Outpatient Services Unit at (850) 412-4549 during regular business hours from 08:00 am to 05:00 pm, ET.

The Agency has also provided a list of emergency preparedness resources for providers on its website.

Florida Department of Health (FDOH)

The FDOH is working to support local and state response to public health needs resulting from Hurricane Ian. Important emergency information is available on their website.

Hospitals and health systems are reminded that all health insurers, managed care organizations, and other health entities must comply with provisions of section 252.358, Florida Statutes, which allows for early prescription refills in the event the Governor issues an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency. This mandate remains in effect until the Governor’s Executive Order is rescinded or expires.

Under a State of Emergency, a pharmacist, in his or her professional judgment, may be able to refill prescriptions early. In accordance with Section 465.0275, F.S., pharmacists may dispense up to a 30-day supply of maintenance medication for a chronic condition.

However, a 30-day prescription for a medicinal drug listed in Schedule II appearing in chapter 893 is not permitted under Section 465.0275, F.S.

In the event a pharmacist receives a request for a prescription refill and the pharmacist is unable to readily obtain refill authorization from the prescriber, the pharmacist may dispense a one-time emergency refill of up to a 72-hour supply of the prescribed medication; or a one-time emergency refill of one vial of insulin to treat diabetes mellitus, irrespective of the issuance of an Executive Order.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

Effectively immediately, FDOT will suspend lane closures on I-10 in NW FL to facilitate full traffic mobility. This suspension will continue until 11:59 pm Monday, October 3, 2022.

Tolls were suspended on September 26, 2022, at 12:00 pm, ET on the following roadways:

  • Garcon Point Bridge (Santa Rosa)
  • Spence Parkway (Okaloosa)
  • Mid-Bay Bridge (Okaloosa)
  • Polk Parkway (Polk)
  • Suncoast Parkway (Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus)
  • Veterans Expressway (Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus)
  • I-4 Connector (Hillsborough)
  • Selmon Expressway (Hillsborough)
  • Pinellas Bayway (Pinellas)
  • Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Pinellas)
  • I-75 Alligator Alley (Collier and Broward)

Information about road conditions and closures is also available from the Florida 511 website. FDOT has also provided the following important documents:

FDOT Emergency Order #1 and Emergency Order #2

Emergency Road Use Permit

All hospitals and health systems in Florida are advised to monitor this system closely and take precautionary measures in preparation for the potential impact on Florida’s Gulf Coast. FHA will continue to provide critical information to help inform decision-making and support your response efforts.

Please contact John Wilgis at (850) 524-2037 for more information and assistance.

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