Provider rallies after tornado

Saturday, June 30, 2007

GREENSBURG, Kan. - The morning after a tornado flattened Greensburg, Kan., on May 4, employees of Home Medical Services jumped into action.
"Once we started communicating (with employees on the scene), we asked, 'What can we do, what do we need?'" said Samantha Rey, COO. "We had a truck and oxygen supplies moving toward the relief area by noon the next day."
The Wichita-based provider is about three hours from Greensburg.
While none of Home Medical's seven branches are in Greensburg, it is part of its service area, and locating its own 11 Greensburg patients was a top priority. The rare category 5 tornado had winds of 205 m.p.h.
"Greensburg is totally destroyed," said Rey. "We started making calls to those patients and their emergency contacts, but there was nothing left."
Fortunately, the provider was able to locate all of its patients, most of whom took the storm in stride, said Justin Miller, sales and marketing.
"The biggest deal was making sure they had some tanks if they were in shelters," he said. "But I would say, being without electricity and being without a place to live, what are you going to do with your equipment?"
The company is now updating its emergency contact information to include friends or family who live in another city or state.
Home Medical Services is a member of the Via Christi Health System, which is working with local Red Cross and Salvation Army chapters to coordinate relief efforts. hme