Federal Agencies Respond to Irma

Thousands of Floridians rely on electricity, oxygen for their care …

(KIMBERLY LEONARD, WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

Federal health officials are prepared to help with emergency medical needs of people affected by Hurricane Irma and are putting particular emphasis on patients who already are relying on ongoing medical care to live.

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State and federal health officials have told Floridians to leave their homes in order to avoid what is expected to be a devastating impact from Hurricane Irma. Florida’s Department of Health has evacuated 11 hospitals and 142 other hospital facilities, and federal officials have assembled disaster medical assistant teams.And while government agencies are focused on helping people access food, water,

And while government agencies are focused on helping people access food, water, transportation, and shelter, over the long-term they face a major challenge to monitor patients with chronic conditions who will struggle to access the care they had before the storm devastated their homes and neighborhoods.

“The biggest challenge … is making certain that those people with chronic illnesses and chronic diseases are able to hook back up with their providers,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said during a news conference Friday.

HHS has identified people who depend on electricity for their care, including people on dialysis or who need oxygen, and sent their information to the state, whose officials will individually contact patients. Price said more than 5,000 patients on dialysis had been identified as well as 20,000 other people who rely on electricity and 6,700 people who rely on oxygen for their care.

He encouraged people to leave their homes to be safe from the storm and has declared a public health emergency in Florida, which allows medical resources to get to people faster and can temporarily lift government regulations. For instance, the federal government lifted certain prescription requirements so that people could get more of their medications for a longer period of time or refill prescriptions early. READ FULL STORY AT THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. 

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