HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt declared a public health emergency in Washington, D.C., related to the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
The move is designed to allow HHS "to ensure items and services are available to beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance program," according to a statement from HHS.
Making the declaration allows Leavitt to issue a waiver of the Social Security Act for the period of the declarationJan. 17-Jan. 21which would give HHS authority to temporarily relax operating procedures so healthcare can be provided, according to the statement.
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