August 28, 2017
HHS establishing medical shelter to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey
Thousands of Texans sheltering at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston will have medical care on-site through a 250-bed Federal Medical Station established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at the request of the State Department of Health. The Federal Medical Station is scheduled to be operational Wednesday.
HHS also is helping evacuate hospital patients to healthcare facilities outside the impacted area.
“We are committed to supporting state and local agencies in meeting the healthcare needs emerging from this devastating storm,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, M.D. “The Federal Medical Station we are setting up and staffing in Houston will provide vital care to Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, and we stand ready to devote additional resources as needed.”
The Federal Medical Station at the convention center will be staffed by members of HHS’ National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
HHS has additional Federal Medical Stations available for patient care in Texas, and has positioned two 250-bed Federal Medical Stations in Baton Rouge ready to be deployed in Louisiana should state officials determine they are needed.
HHS has more than 500 personnel on the ground to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey and 1,300 more on standby.
HHS also has helped local public health officials address the needs of those who rely upon electricity-dependent medical equipment. Using its emPOWER tool, HHS has provided information to local public health officials about the number of Medicare beneficiaries in each impacted area who rely on 14 types of life-maintaining and assistive equipment, ranging from oxygen concentrators to electric wheelchairs, as well as data on the number of people who rely on dialysis, oxygen, and home health services. These citizens are among the most vulnerable in their communities and most likely to need life-saving assistance in prolonged power outages.
HHS has activated its Disaster Distress Helpline, a toll-free call center, that is available at 1-800-985-5990 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.
In addition to full-scale coordination across the federal Cabinet agencies, HHS remains in regular contact with Texas and Louisiana health officials to maintain awareness of the local situation and stands ready to augment support to the states as the situation unfolds.
Critical updates will also be available at:
HHS’ NDMS consists of approximately 5,000 medical, public health, and emergency management professionals from communities nationwide and serve as Federal government employees when activated as part of a coordinated federal response.