Back in September, just after Hurricane Harvey came ashore, staff at NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care clinic in Humble knew they had a problem.
“At first it was just water on the floor,” pediatrician Anastasia L. Gentles, MD, told Texas Medicine at the time. “Then a couple of hours later you couldn’t see the chairs. It was a little lake in there.”
NightLight was one of many medical practices in the Houston area put out of commission by Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters. But thanks to generous Texas physicians, their colleagues around the country, and organizations like the
Physicians Foundation, the clinic is back in business. About 60 people came to celebrate its grand reopening Wednesday.
"A lot of the people who helped us through that time were there, so it was really good," Dr. Gentles, the clinic’s chief medical officer, said after the reopening.
The clinic is one of 53 Texas practices in 18 Texas cites that received financial help from the
TMA Disaster Relief Program. As of mid-January, the program has paid out almost $750,000 to practices in cities throughout the region, including Houston, Victoria, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Columbus, Dickinson, and Orange. These practices employ 166 physicians and 1,277 non-physician staff.
Like many affected practices, NightLight found temporary quarters for a few weeks near its regular location. By Dec. 21, the clinic had returned to its old spot, but it still had to be substantially rebuilt.
Many practices suffered extensive water damage that in most cases required remodeling, repairs and replacement of equipment, and that's exactly what happened to NightLight, Dr. Gentles said.
"A lot of people are putting in their waiting room a water mark to show where the watermark was for Harvey, and we might do that too," she said.
On the other side of the Houston area, RevIVe Med Spa in Friendswood lost about $500,000 in equipment, furniture, and medical products because of Harvey.
A grant from the TMA Disaster Relief Program helped the clinic reopen on Oct. 9, Lindsey Jackson, MD, said in a letter to the
TMA Physicians Benevolent Fund, which administers the Disaster Relief Program.
“It is difficult to explain the emotional roller coaster ride that the people in our clinic experienced during and after the flood,” Dr. Jackson said. “Your kindness and generosity in assisting us in our road to recovery is so much appreciated.”
Through Feb. 1, the program had received a little more than $1 million in donations to help physicians whose practices sustained physical, Harvey-related damage not covered by insurance or other sources of assistance.
Assistance is still available for practices in
FEMA-declared counties that sustained uninsured, underinsured, or nonreimbursable property damage and do not have adequate funding to cover the damage. This includes relocating or rehabilitating their medical office, replacing equipment, rebuilding patient records, and paying temporary operating expenses, including rent for temporary offices and other working capital requirements.
To be eligible, applicants:
- Must be licensed physicians practicing in Texas,
- May apply only once per disaster, and
- May amend previously submitted applications if additional information becomes available.
Apply for disaster relief assistance
online while funds are available. Applications and proof of insurance claims (if applicable) must be remitted and are limited to one application per practice.
Email TMA with your questions regarding the program or if you need help completing the application.
Photos courtesy of NightLight Pediatrics and RevIVe Med Spa