FMNCA's disaster response program makes difference in patients' lives during Super Storm Sandy

Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), a division of Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) and North America's largest provider of kidney care, hospitalist services and renal products, today hailed a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week showing that dialysis patients who received treatments immediately before Super Storm Sandy experienced a much better survival rate and less frequent visits to the hospital. FMCNA provided pre-storm, weekend care to a wide section of the area surveyed by the study, indicating that the company's efforts made an appreciable difference in patients' lives.

The HHS study - based on 13,836 patients who received dialysis across the State of New Jersey and New York City - found that receiving early dialysis reduced the chances of needing emergency room care or hospitalization by 20 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Most importantly, patients who received early treatment showed a 28 percent lower chance of death 30 days after the storm. "As a company, we believe it's our responsibility to do whatever it takes to get patients the care they need to live, whatever the circumstances," said Bill Numbers, Fresenius Medical Care's Sr. Vice President Operations Shared Services and Incident Commander. "Preparing for and responding to disasters and making sure that patients have access to care is a key part of our business, and we are proud that our work is making a difference."

The Fresenius Medical Care Disaster Response Team worked closely during the run up to Sandy with local governments and community organizations, such as the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition, to ensure patients received treatments before the storm hit. It was able to provide the vast majority of its patients this vital care by taking several actions:

  • Opened many of its clinics for extended hours late into Saturday night and throughout the day on Sunday before the storm reached the metro area.
  • Began alerting patients in person and on the phone a week before the storm to set up disaster contingency plans.
  • Provided extra treatment shifts for patients whose normal care schedule would likely be disrupted by the superstorm.
  • Diverted patients from some clinics to others to ensure everyone could reach a working clinic after the hurricane.

While storms and other natural disasters can be dangerous and even life-threatening for entire communities, they pose an especially serious health threat to renal patients who need hemodialysis treatment every several days to clean waste products from their blood. FMCNA is an industry leader in health care disaster preparedness and response, running incident command teams at the national and local levels in order to coordinate effective operations during hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc. In fact, FMCNA has won the USA Council of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Business & Industry Preparedness Award in recognition of its efforts.


Fresenius Medical Care North America


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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