Give Them One More Pass?

Of all places in the US, Houston is the one where no excuses can be made for an emergency evacuation due to flooding. Since Hurricane Allison dropped 40 inches on the coastal areas in Texas and Louisiana, there have at least 8 billion-dollar storms and floods to hit southern Texas. In November 2012, Post-Sandy, we wrote an open letter to public health officials about how lessons are not learned and this continues to costs lives of the most vulnerable populations (inpatients) in the nation.

Hurricane Harvey brought the most rain ever recorded in the continental US, with fifty inches coming down over a three-day period.This is the second “100/500/1000? Year Storm” in the recent decade. Lessons from earlier catastrophes Katrina, Allison, Ike, Dolly, Rita, and Sandy, point to the need for early evacuation; the deadly effects of rising water, loss of electricity and essential supplies due to Just In Time inventory management are well documented and caused hundreds of inpatient deaths in New Orleans, 12 years to the day Harvey made landfall.

Now that Final Rule CMS 3178 has been implemented, it is more important than ever for Medicare and Medicaid Participating providers (and their suppliers)to demonstrate they are prepared for this type of disaster or put their conditions of Participation (COP) at risk. We will follow up with lessons learned in future posts after the dust has settled on Harvey’s impact on Healthcare Preparedness for All Hazards.

With Harvey, some healthcare facilities elected to evacuate prior to the storm’s arrival, while many that did not were surrounded by water and forced to evacuate under much worse conditions. The following video is a reminder that our loved ones are at great risk based on the decision to Evacuate or Protect in Place.

Thanks to ABC News for this amazing footage.