From the White House blog:
"In an effort to proactively address the ongoing pandemic, the President signed a National Emergency Declaration on H1N1 that allows healthcare systems to quickly implement disaster plans should they become overwhelmed.
As experts expected, H1N1 flu is moving rapidly throughout the country and the majority of states now have widespread influenza activity. This declaration gives authority for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive certain regulatory requirements for healthcare facilities in response the ongoing pandemic. Specifically, healthcare facilities will be able to submit waivers to establish alternate care sites, and modified patient triage protocols, patient transfer procedures and other actions that occur when they fully implement disaster operations plans."