Healthcare, at its core, is the ambition to help others out at their time of distress. Every day brings new challenges. Time and again, we face unforeseen circumstances where there is no ‘playbook’ to follow. The tornadoes that impacted Alabama in 2011 had far reaching affects. The recent, 2016, flooding in Louisiana is another example. Consider some of these facts.
During the ‘no-name’ storm, rainfall fell at 2-3 inches per hour and total accumulations reached about 30-31 inches. To put that into perspective, it was enough water to fill Lake Pontchartrain about four times! If anyone reading this has flown into New Orleans, you know how massive that body of water is. It is a substantial amount of water.
The impacts were immense. The major initial impact came in the form of rising rivers and flooding. Evacuations, rescues and the setup of shelters throughout the parishes in and around Baton Rouge were common. The Louisiana National Guard and the Coast Guard helped over 30,000 people evacuate their homes. People were challenged getting to and from work and curfews were put into place.
Our friends in Louisiana are no strangers to‘crisis management’. It has been well documented what past storms have done to the area. Hospitals are at the heart of necessary services regardless of crisis. Elderly and incapacitated people are not able to move around. Many need electricity and power to ensure they maintain stability. Women are still delivering babies. All the while, employees are having trouble getting to work. Everyone is concerned about their homes and loved ones. To say there is a lot of soul searching is an understatement.
What can we do as friends, neighbors and concerned citizens to help? The AL Chapter of HFMA stepped up in a big way. During the recent fall meeting in Birmingham, chapter members became resourceful and focused on lending a hand to our neighbors in need. Moneyand everyday products were donated to provide assistance for those with needs. Big five gallon buckets were set up in various locations throughout the exhibit hall. Members filled these buckets with anything that would be helpful, such as toothbrushes, soap, cotton swabs, deodorant, socks, etc.
Jon Harlan of Frost-Arnett led the group raising $2100 dollars and several five- gallon buckets of much needed goods to deliver to Mary Leah Walker at Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. Mary Leah is the current president of the LA chapter of HFMA. Mary Leah is not only Karen Dillard’s counterpart, she is a friend. Mary Leah is thrilled with the support shown by the Alabama and Florida chapters.
HFMA as a great resource for continued education, but more importantly to help network with others in healthcare. In this instance, it was the catalyst for our chapter to help out our neighbors in need. The AL chapter should be proud of our actions and let’s continue to look for ways to help one another!