According to IQH, many physicians have remained in Mississippi. The physicians—and the whole state—have been fairly resilient. A lot of physicians are in temporary locations. Some have found temporary offices or are working closely with hospital medical staffs. Hospitals have provided temporary locations. But the hospitals on the coast have rebounded well.
As a hospital association, we were very busy in response to the multitude of needs after the storm hit. We had two staff members at the Mississippi Department of Health’s Emergency Operations Center during the hurricane, and they worked together with other staff to outline and coordinate hospital and community health needs after the hurricane. We helped coordinate national efforts to get needed supplies and donations to our hospitals statewide.
Working in conjunction with the American Hospital Association, the Alabama Hospital Association, and the Louisiana Hospital Association, we created a tri-state care fund to accept donations to assist hospital employees who had lost everything during the hurricane. This fund collected more than $3 million for hospital employees affected by Hurricane Katrina. More information can be found at www.mhacares.com.
Because our hospitals needed to receive Katrina-related information quickly, we also set up a “Hurricane Katrina Information for Hospitals” blog right after the hurricane and still post relevant information to it today. You can view it at http://mhanewsnow.typepad.com/katrina.
With things slowly getting back to normal, we understand that the mental health of our hospital employees and the community will be an ongoing concern. Though Hurricane Katrina dealt a terrible blow to our state’s hospitals, it also brought us all together to work for a common cause: our patients. I was never more proud to be a part of the healthcare community in our state. It reminded me once again that together we can—and do—make a difference. TH
Sam Cameron is CEO of the Mississippi Hospital Association.