Oct. 16, 2017
Relief Program to
Assist Harvey-Damaged Medical Practices
is on the way for some Texas physicians uprooted from their medical practice by
Hurricane Harvey. The Texas Medical Association (TMA) Disaster
Relief Program committee distributed nearly $350,000 to the first 28 medical
practices to apply for assistance to rebuild. Physicians whose
Harvey-damaged medical practice is located in a federally
declared disaster area have been applying for assistance for damage not covered
by insurance or other means, to speed the rebuilding of their doctor offices. The
28 medical practices employ 107 physicians and 936 staff members.
“We want to
help physicians throughout the disaster area recover and rebuild as soon as
possible, because their communities’ patients are struggling, their staffs are
hurting, and they are straining to get their practices up and running again,” said
TMA President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD. “This assistance will help these
practices return to doing what they do best: protecting the health and
well-being of their patients and their communities.”
Disaster Relief Program’s oversight committee last week began distributing funds
to the first physicians to apply for help after losing their medical practice
to the hurricane.
For many doctors’ offices throughout southeast Texas,
damage is terrific. Many lost everything but the outer shells of the buildings
themselves — from medical equipment to vaccines, office furniture and
TMA is now very near its goal of raising $1 million or
more; the total tally in donations and pledges stands at $997,907.
“Although the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey was
substantial, the generosity physicians showed their affected colleagues was
even more powerful,” said Dr. Cardenas.
The need is enormous: A recent TMA survey finds nearly
two-thirds (65 percent) of physicians in Texas’ official disaster-area
counties were forced to close their practice temporarily, while
one-third (35 percent) had to reduce their hours or services. That equates to
tens of thousands of patients left without their doctor to care for their
injuries or illnesses during a time when many also face the upheaval of
destruction of their homes or places of work.
assembled a blue-ribbon panel of TMA Family members including five past TMA
presidents, the chair and a member of The Physicians Benevolent Fund, and physicians in the disaster areas to
oversee the TMA Disaster Relief Program. Don R. Read, MD, TMA immediate past
president, is the committee chair.
philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation, is overseeing fundraising,
and The Physicians Benevolent Fund is administering the TMA
Disaster Relief Program.
continues to accept contributions to the program in hopes of
helping each physician rebuild to care for patients again.
also is conducting independent research using its own member data to compare
with federal storm-damage data and identify doctors whose practices and homes were
harmed by the massive storm, but who have yet to contact the medical society
for assistance. “So many of the doctors might be so entrenched in recovery that
they’re unaware of the TMA Disaster Relief Program, so we want to find them in
hopes we can help,” Dr. Cardenas said.
TMA is the largest state
medical society in the nation, representing more than 50,000 physician and
medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county
medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to
improve the health of all Texans. The TMA Foundation
raises funds to support the public health and science priority initiatives of
TMA and the Family of Medicine.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
Marcus Cooper (512)
370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org
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