Skip Navigation

News Release

Friday, January 16, 2009

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

HHS Secretary Declares Public Health Emergency for the District of Columbia for the 56th Presidential Inaugural

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today declared a public health emergency related to the 56th presidential inaugural. The action allows the department to take actions, if needed, to ensure items and services are available to beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance program, known as SCHIP.

Today’s declaration determines that a public health emergency exists from Jan. 17 through Jan. 21 in the District of Columbia.

The declaration permits the Secretary to issue a waiver of the Social Security Act for the period covered by the declaration, if this action is found to be necessary at a later date. The waiver would provide the flexibility to take steps to ensure that vital health care services can be maintained for beneficiaries.  It provides the authority to temporarily relax certain operating procedures so health care services can be delivered.

The declaration is available at


Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at

Last revised: January 16, 2009