NACHC continues to receive reports from the field from the Texas Association of Community Health Centers (TACHC) and Direct Relief regarding the damage and flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Sufficient medicines (especially Tetanus) and staff shortages remain a big concern in affected areas. There are 34 health centers with 186 sites in declared disaster counties. Of those, 26 health centers have 132 sites where patients have been directly affected by severe flooding or damage to their homes. Twelve health centers have reported that multiple members of their staff have flooded or damaged homes, even staff members who have lost everything. Nine health center sites have reported damage, including significant flooding and one case of looting.
Resources are flowing in from mobile units sent by health centers from areas in Texas and California (see blog post). Direct Relief has also provided 60 emergency deliveries to 18 sites in Texas containing more than $900,000 (wholesale) in medicines, hygiene kits, and supplies, which include insulin and other requested medications that are critically important for patients with chronic conditions that can rapidly become life threatening if unmanaged. There is also a need for Tetanus/TDAP and Hep vaccines for people who have waded through floodwaters that typically carry bacteria. TACHC is also working with federal officials to ensure that health centers have the resources and adaptability to respond to the host of needs that emerge in the wake of a disaster, including expedited licensing, CHIP co-pay waivers, WIC replenishment, and SNAP for hot and ready to eat foods. For more information about donations to Texas health centers please visit this link.
We will continue to update with developments related to health centers and patients affected by Hurricane Harvey, and are closely monitoring emergency preparations underway in Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.