Dialysis Provider Well-Prepared for Hurricane Season and Other Natural Disasters
With Coordinated Efforts Across the U.S., Dialysis Provider Mobilizes Quickly when Natural Disasters Strike
WALTHAM, Mass. – May 31, 2011 – During natural disasters, people expect FEMA and the Red Cross to mobilize at a moment's notice to help those in need. However, did you know that a healthcare company that provides life-sustaining care to the chronically ill is doing the same? Kidney dialysis clinics and patients need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios because dialysis patients need treatment every two to three days. Getting treatments can be a matter of life or death for patients when natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods disrupt electrical power or make routine travel to treatment challenging.
Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) is the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities with over 1,800 clinics in the U.S., and is the world’s largest vertically integrated provider of dialysis products and services. As such, it is uniquely positioned to provide emergency assistance to patients when a disaster strikes. The company’s extensive plans have been developed to help all dialysis patients in need whether they are an FMCNA patient or not. Cohesive efforts across all levels of the company allow staff to provide patients with dialysis treatments, equipment and supplies, medicines, lab services and more.
"In a time of crisis, we make it a priority to provide our staff with necessities like generators, food, and even RVs. One of the pillars of our success is taking care of our staff so they can take care of our patients,” said Bill Numbers, FMCNA vice president of Operations Support and Incident Commander for Disaster Response and Planning. "Our national, regional, and local managers have clear procedures to follow, so we can mobilize at any level to help both our patients, and patients from other providers."
FMCNA has implemented an incident command structure, much like local governments have in place. To prepare for the 2011 hurricane season, earlier this month the company held a disaster training and planning summit for its national emergency task force, comprised of management and staff experts.
The event was held at FMCNA’s disaster preparation warehouse located in Jackson, Miss., which is used as a crisis staging area and logistical command center year round. Attendees stayed in the RV campers that are used during disasters, tested equipment, and discussed topics including: facility preparation (boarding windows, increasing stock and handling power sources), plans for computer and phone outages, securing water and fuel supplies, safety procedures, and how to set up an RV village for clinic staff during a disaster.
FMCNA maintains other staging sites disaster-prone regions of the U.S., where it can quickly distribute emergency supplies to affected areas. These warehouses hold generators, food, fully-equipped campers, 18-wheelers, medical supplies and more.
When a disaster is threatening, FMCNA engages its national emergency task force and coordinates efforts with local government officials and organizations. Clinic staff arrange extra treatment shifts as needed, and work closely with patients to discuss alternate treatment plans and safety information. FMCNA also activates its patient hotline at 1-800-626-1297 so anyone who needs dialysis can find the nearest open clinic.
The company’s response plan was tested during the recent tornadoes in Alabama and in areas affected by flooding along the Mississippi. FMCNA provided generators to clinics that were without electricity so patients could maintain their treatments. The company also provided personal generators and gas to company staff, so they could stay in their homes and get to work every day. During major hurricanes such as Katrina and Ike, FMCNA cared for patients who evacuated from hurricane areas and set up a village of RVs in nearby cities, which allowed volunteers and displaced workers to continue meeting the needs of patients.
About Fresenius Medical Care
Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) is the world’s leading company devoted to patient-oriented renal therapy. Through more than 2,700 clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, we provide kidney dialysis treatments to approximately 215,000 patients worldwide. We are also the world's leading maker of dialysis products such as hemodialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products. Chronic kidney failure is a condition that affects about 2 million individuals worldwide.For more information about the company’s more than 1,800 U.S. dialysis facilities, visit www.ultracare-dialysis.com (in English and Spanish). For more information about Fresenius Medical Care, visit www.fmc-ag.com or www.fmcna.com.