Although the rains have stopped, the public health concerns associated with Hurricane Harvey will continue. The knowledge and expertise of Texas physicians will be called upon as hundreds of thousands of people begin to move back into affected areas and rebuild their lives.
Help Reopen Practices Damaged by Harvey
The Texas Medical Association and the TMA Foundation are asking physicians statewide to help their colleagues rebuild or repair practices damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
Make a tax-deductible donation today to support TMA's Disaster Relief Program, administered by the Physicians Benevolent Fund, which provides grants to affected physicians.
"You will receive many solicitations in the coming days to help meet the needs of the thousands of Texans forced out of their homes, and I hope you find it in your heart to support those worthy causes," TMA President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, said in a letter to TMA members. "But as physicians and friends of medicine, I also hope you will help the Texas Medical Association and the TMA Foundation reestablish patient care in the disaster zone. We don't know yet how many physician practices were damaged or demolished by Harvey, but the widespread damage all the way from Corpus Christi through East Texas tells us that number will be high. Too high. Much too high."
Established originally after Hurricane Rita, the TMA Disaster Relief Program helps cover expenses (not covered by insurance or other funding) related to relocating or rehabilitating a physician's medical office. This may include replacing equipment, aiding needed staff, rebuilding patient records, and other similar costs — all towards the goal of helping physicians once again begin treating their patients.
After Rita and then Ike, TMA's Disaster Relief Program helped physicians meet uncovered expenses such as vaccines, telephone system replacements, signage, and medical laboratory supplies. Thanks to your help, they overcame those obstacles more quickly and got back to taking care of patients sooner.
Thank you for donating to the TMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of TMA, and supporting "Physicians Caring for Texans."
Note: Contributions are deductible for federal income tax purposes in accordance with applicable law.
Rain Not in Friday Forecast, But Flooding to Continue
The forecast remains dry Friday for areas that have seen catastrophic flooding, according to a situation report from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Although rains have stopped, flooding is expected to continue in areas near the coast as waters move downstream.
According to the Department of State Health Services, the majority of medical resources have moved out of Houston's NRG Stadium to support patient evacuation and patient care operations in Beaumont and Orange County, where a mobile medical unit (MMU) is expected to arrive Saturday.
New Walmart, Sam's, and Brookshire pharmacy contracts are in place to provide medications in the affected areas, officials say. Three medical shelters are open, though few evacuees remain at those facilities: As of Friday morning, San Antonio had 39 evacuees, Austin had nine, and NRG Stadium had one.
About 1,100 patients have been evacuated or transferred from affected areas, and three MMUs have treated 320 patients, 53 of which have been transferred to hospitals, officials say.
Helpful Links, Resources, and Information on Hurricane Harvey
Over the past week, TMA has sent daily Action newsletters offering information that physicians working in areas affected by Harvey would need. Below are links to those stories and more.
More information on Hurricane Harvey recovery can be found on the TMA's Disaster Preparedness & Response Resource Center.
Physicians looking for more information on Hurricane Harvey can email the TMA Knowledge Center or call (800) 880-7955 or (512) 370-1544.
Physicians who wish to volunteer should register at the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry or contact the American Red Cross.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has information for injured employees, health care providers, and workers' comp carriers. TDI also has an online guide for homeowners on filing claims, deadlines, and resources.
The Department of Health and Human Services website contains information on HIPAA and Public Health as well as HIPAA and Emergency Preparedness and Response.
The Department of State Health Services website also contains information on Harvey disaster relief as well as Laboratory Specimen Handling and Newborn Screening Guidance.
The New York Times has published a Q&A on Health Threats From Hurricane Harvey.
Action, Sept. 1, 2017