Industry & TETAF News

WSJ: Already Strained by Harvey, Hospitals Brace for New Wave of Patients

Closures and evacuations increase strain on facilities still open; ‘We know what’s coming’

By Melanie Evans

Wall Street Journal

Already strained hospitals that managed to remain open amid Tropical Storm Harvey’s pounding rains and flooding are bracing for an influx of new patients as roadways begin to clear.

In Houston and along the Gulf Coast, 27 hospitals have either closed or evacuated some patients since Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Friday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The closures are increasing the stress on remaining hospitals, which are steeling themselves for a surge in demand.

“We know what’s coming,” said Alex Loessin, a spokeswoman for Memorial Hermann Health System, which runs hospitals and clinics in the Houston area.

The health system on Tuesday reopened two urgent-care centers in the Houston area to treat residents who have been cut off from medical care by flooding, with the hope it would alleviate an expected rush to the health system’s emergency rooms in the coming days, Ms. Loessin said. Memorial Hermann planned to open four more urgent-care centers Wednesday, she said.

Beyond the 27 hospitals that have closed or evacuated some patients, another 25 hospitals have reported storm-related problems that may leave them unable to accept new patients, said Darrell Pile, chief executive officer of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, which is coordinating disaster response across counties hit by the storm.

The remainder of the article can be read online.