Providers brace for sprawling hurricane

Sunday, September 14, 2008

HOUSTON - On Friday, with Hurricane Ike bearing down on the Gulf states, providers of home oxygen therapy in Texas were making sure patients in need of care were located, identified and provided equipment, supplies and services.

If power goes out due to the hurricane, providers planned to route calls to other areas to maintain 24-hour emergency response service, said a release from the Council for Quality Respiratory Care.

"We have addressed emergency plans in each location and have contacted high acuity patients to make sure they are safe and understand their own evacuation plans," stated Andy Ingram, Apria Healthcare's vice president of operations, mid-South region, in the release. "Because of the size and strength of this particular hurricane, we have also alerted adjacent regional operation centers in the company to be on standby in the event that assistance is needed outside of our area."

Also on Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services activated Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and U.S. Public Health Services Commissioned Corps officers to assist with medical evacuations and special needs shelters. In Texas, five federal medical needs shelters, each with 250 beds, were being set up. Medical equipment and pharmacy supplies were being positioned in impacted communities.