August 25, 2017
HHS readies medical support in Texas and Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Harvey
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is leaning forward in its preparations to support Texas and Louisiana in responding to Hurricane Harvey. HHS has already deployed assets to both states that are ready to provide medical care and public health support as needed after Hurricane Harvey makes landfall.
HHS has called in 460 National Disaster Medical System staff, including community doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel from around the country, to be in place ahead of the storm and ready to respond when and where needed. The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response moved six Disaster Medical Assistance Teams into the Dallas area along with Incident Response Coordination Teams to support the medical teams in Texas and Louisiana. Additional medical care teams are on alert to be called in as needed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has moved two 250-bed Federal Medical Stations to Baton Rouge, ready to be deployed anywhere in the state, and additional Federal Medical Stations are available in Dallas for patient care in Texas. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health has mobilized U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers to staff the Federal Medical Stations and meet other public health or medical needs in impacted communities.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration activated the Disaster Distress Helpline, a toll-free call center, to aid people in coping with the behavioral health effects of the storm and help people in impacted areas connect with local behavioral health professionals.
HHS also provided data to public health authorities in Texas and Louisiana to assist them in reaching citizens who rely on electrically powered medical equipment at home. Power outages become life-or-death situations for people with these medical conditions.
HHS remains in regular contact with Texas and Louisiana health officials to maintain awareness of the local situation and stands ready to augment its support to the states as the situation unfolds.
The Department is committed to meeting the medical and public health needs of communities across Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey in the immediate aftermath of the storm and as affected areas recover. Information on health safety tips during and after the hurricane will be provided by the Office of the Assistance Secretary for Preparedness and Response and will be available at www.phe.gov/harvey
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