U.S. Department of Health & Human Services HHS.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Knowledge Base

  • What is the emPOWER program?

    The HHS emPOWER Program is a mission-critical partnership between the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The HHS emPOWER Program provides federal data, mapping, and artificial intelligence tools, as well as training and resources, to help communities nationwide protect the health of at-risk Medicare beneficiaries, including 4.2 million individuals who live independently and rely on electricity-dependent durable medical and assistive equipment and devices, and or essential health care services (i.e., dialysis, oxygen tank, hospice care services, home health care services). Additional information is available in the HHS emPOWER Program Fact Sheet.

  • Why did ASPR and CMS develop the HHS emPOWER Program?

    Prior to 2013, public health officials, emergency managers, first responders, and health care providers commonly reported that they did not have access to timely information that could help them better anticipate, plan for, and respond to the needs of at-risk populations in their communities. To help, ASPR partnered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct a novel, first-in-the-nation emergency preparedness exercise pilot, in 2013, to assess whether Medicare Program claims data could help public health authorities protect the health of community-based at-risk populations, enhance planning and response activities to support continuity of care and reduce system surge in the event of an incident, emergency, or disaster. The exercise demonstrated that Medicare claims data could provide valuable information to help protect health and potentially save lives in an emergency. In 2014, the HHS emPOWER Program was launched to provide dynamic data and mapping tools, training, resources, and technical assistance to help communities protect the health of more than 4.2 million Medicare beneficiaries who live independently and rely on electricity-dependent durable medical and assistive equipment and devices, and four essential health care services (i.e., dialysis, oxygen tank, hospice care services, home health care services). Additional information is available in the HHS emPOWER Program Fact Sheet.

  • Why do program documents reference both 2.6 million and 4.2 million Medicare beneficiaries?

    The data provided in the HHS emPOWER Map, HHS emPOWER REST Service, and emPOWER AI only include at-risk individuals who rely on electricity-dependent durable medical and assistive equipment and devices, which represents approximately 2.6 million Medicare beneficiaries. The data provided in the HHS emPOWER Program Emergency Planning and Response Outreach dataset tools includes at-risk individuals who rely on electricity-dependent durable medical and assistive equipment and devices as well as the 2.8 million beneficiaries who have a claim for at least one of four essential health care services (i.e., facility-based dialysis, home oxygen tank, home health care services and at-home hospice services). Although some Medicare beneficiaries may have an administrative insurance claim for one or more types of electricity -dependent durable medical equipment and devices and or health care services, they are only counted once in the current 4.2 million emPOWER Medicare at-risk population total.

  • Who can access the HHS emPOWER Map?

    The HHS emPOWER Map is a publicly available interactive map that anyone can access and use. The map’s new website address is now https://empowerprogram.hhs.gov/empowermap. Additional information is available on the HHS emPOWER Map informational page.

  • How often is the HHS emPOWER Map data updated?

    The Medicare claims data is updated on a monthly basis. The hazard data, provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and United States Geological Survey (USGS), is updated in real or near-real time (usually hourly or daily). Additional information is available on Data Information tab of the HHS emPOWER Map.

  • What is the HHS emPOWER Map REST Service_Public? How can I use it?

    The aggregated Medicare data displayed on the HHS emPOWER Map is also available as an HHS emPOWER Map Representational State Transfer (REST) Service_Public via ASPR’s GeoHEALTH Platform, an interactive geographic information system (GIS)-based mapping application. GIS users can readily access, consume, and apply de-identified aggregated Medicare beneficiary claims data totals at the state, territory, county, and ZIP code levels in their own GIS application. Public health, health care, and emergency management officials, first responders, utility companies, and many other community partners, including the general public, have used the REST Service to geospatially compare at-risk electricity-dependent population densities and community resources to inform decision making and deployment of assets, identify optimal shelter locations and resource allocation, position volunteer teams, and support power restoration prioritization to help their at-risk populations and communities more rapidly recover following an incident, emergency, or disaster. Additional information is available on the HHS emPOWER REST Service page.

  • What is emPOWER AI?

    emPOWER AI is a public, voice-activated tool, available through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant mobile and home device applications, that can provide HHS emPOWER Map data by voice and typed query and perform single to complex computations and reporting of data aggregations from single to multiple diverse types of geographies (i.e. national, state, territorial, county and ZIP codes). By asking one quick question, users can access and perform rapid aggregations of emPOWER data in a matter of seconds. emPOWER AI also provides information about other emPOWER tools and resources that collectively support emergency preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation, and resilience activities. Additional information is available on the emPOWER AI page.

  • What information is provided by emPOWER AI?

    emPOWER AI provides general information on the HHS emPOWER Program, as well as data on two specific populations: the total number of Medicare beneficiaries in a geographic area; and the total number of at-risk electricity-dependent Medicare beneficiaries in a geographic area (i.e., national, state, territory, county, and ZIP Code levels). Additional information is available on the emPOWER AI page.

  • How do I access emPOWER AI?

    emPOWER AI is available on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and may be added to a mobile or home device. For step-by-step directions on accessing and using emPOWER AI, access the emPOWER AI Fact Sheet and emPOWER AI Job Aid.

  • What is the HHS emPOWER Program Web-Based Training?

    The new HHS emPOWER Program Web-Based Training (#1083714) is a free, publicly accessible course on the TRAIN Learning Network designed to help partners better understand the HHS emPOWER Program and integrate its tools, such as the HHS emPOWER Map, into their emergency preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation, and resilience activities. The course includes program information and tool details, step-by-step instructions, practical applications, and real-world case studies to support partners in applying the HHS emPOWER Program. Additional information about the HHS emPOWER Program Web-Based Training is available on the Training page.

  • What is the HHS emPOWER Emergency Planning De-identified Dataset?

    The HHS emPOWER Emergency Planning De-identified Dataset informs and supports emergency preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation, and resilience activities. This restricted tool, updated monthly, provides public health authorities with the total number of Medicare claims by type of electricity-dependent durable medical equipment (DME) and cardiac device, and certain health care services in a geographic area. Additional information is available on the HHS emPOWER Emergency Planning De-identified Dataset page.

  • What information is provided in the HHS emPOWER Emergency Planning De-identified Dataset?

    The HHS emPOWER Emergency Planning De-identified Dataset provides monthly updated de-identified totals at the state, territory, county and ZIP Code levels for Medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service Medicare Fee-For-Service (Parts A/B) and Medicare Advantage (Part C) Programs. The Dataset includes de-identified totals by type of electricity-dependent durable medical equipment (DME) and certain cardiac implantable devices, as well as four additional essential healthcare services (i.e., facility-based dialysis, home oxygen tank services, home health care services, and at-home hospice services).

  • What is the HHS emPOWER Emergency Response Outreach Individual Dataset?

    The HHS emPOWER Emergency Response Outreach Individual Dataset can only be officially requested by a public health authority that is required to meet certain requirements to support lifesaving assistance and response outreach public health activities in the event of an incident, emergency, or disaster. It is a secure and restricted tool that contains limited individual-level beneficiary information (e.g., name, address) and health care provider information. The datasets have been used to rapidly identify, locate, and voluntarily evacuate at-risk individuals, and to help ensure continuity of care by reconnecting them with their health care providers. Additional information is available on the HHS emPOWER Emergency Response Outreach Individual Dataset page.