Providers 'do the right thing' following tornado
OKLAHOMA CITY – Though they weren’t directly affected by the devastating tornado that plowed through nearby Moore on May 20, it hasn’t been business as usual for two HME providers in Oklahoma City.
Provider Larry Pierce says the biggest obstacle immediately following the tornado was trying to maintain communication with patients.
“At 5, our phones roll over to an answering service and that went down the night of the tornado, so we had to rely on cell phones,” said Pierce, president and executive director of CareSource. “But those went down, too. Some texts got through, some didn’t.”
The tornado hit Moore at about 2:45 p.m., damaging or destroying thousands of homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. At its peak, the tornado packed winds of 210 miles per hour, according to news reports.
Pierce was able to account for all of his patients in the affected area—although, for one patient, it was touch-and-go for a while, he says.
“We couldn’t get ahold of one patient and his son was the secondary number and when we reached him he said he couldn’t get ahold of him, either,” he said. “But we got him oxygen before it got too bad.”
While phone service is back up, an obstacle that continues to affect providers: poor travel conditions due to the flash floods that followed the tornado and the heavy presence of law enforcement and other officials, Pierce says.
“Usually, we can get to patients in two to four hours, now it’s five to six,” he said.
Provider Thomas Hoover says he’s also standing by to provide replacement medical equipment to those affected.
“We’ve given away a couple of things, and we’re ready to do more,” said Hoover, CFO of Advantage Mobility. “We have so much stuff for demos, and even if it’s not a perfect fit, it’s enough to keep them rolling until they can get something more specific.
“Everyone’s trying to do the right thing,” he added.