The President called the opioid crisis an epidemic and declared a public health emergency today. That decision is not the same as a disaster declaration and does not open access to the same federal funding streams.
As described by CNN,
Trump, through the Public Health Services Act, directed his acting secretary of health and human services to declare a nationwide health emergency, a designation that will not automatically be followed by additional federal funding for the crisis, according to a senior White House official.Instead, the order will expand access to telemedicine in rural areas, instruct agencies to curb bureaucratic delays for dispensing grant money and shift some federal grants towards combating the crisis.If Trump had used the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the federal government would have been able to immediately tap into funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to combat opioids. The Stafford Act, though, has traditionally been used to provide recovery money to natural disasters, most recently from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.
- The federal disaster process and what is involved
- Why you get a disaster declaration, and why you don’t
- The challenges of a disaster that is confined to one county
- Snowstorms, and when they qualify for aid
- The reimbursement process