FMCNA Activates Disaster Response Team and Patient Hotline for Winter Storm Juno
Nation’s Leading Dialysis Provider Prepares to Ensure Continued Patient Care in Affected Areas
WALTHAM, Mass. – January 26, 2015 – In anticipation of Winter Storm Juno – which is threatening much of the Northeast with blizzard conditions and up to three feet of snow – Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, has activated its Incident Command Team to begin implementing plans to ensure continued patient care in the areas affected by the storm.
Patients seeking help with emergency plans or more information about arranging alternate dialysis clinics should call FMCNA’s toll-free Patient Emergency Hotline: 1-800-626-1297.
While storms and other natural disasters can be inconvenient and even life-threatening for entire communities, they pose an especially serious health threat to dialysis patients whose treatments are delayed by flooding, electrical power outages or an inability to access their normal treatment locations. Dialysis patients require life-sustaining treatment typically three times a week to remove waste products and extra fluids after their kidneys have failed.
The Fresenius Medical Care Incident Command Team, assisted by divisional, technical and regional employees, works closely with local governments and community organizations such as the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition to prepare for and respond quickly to a variety of disasters. FMCNA and its partners are ready to deliver a variety of supplies including generators, fuel, and bottled water to facilities and employees affected by this storm.
FMCNA staff are also providing extra treatment shifts for patients at clinics anticipated to be affected by the storm, including clinics that may be required to close. The company opened many clinics this past Sunday to prepare for any closures this week, and they will open again this Sunday if needed to accommodate patients who missed treatments. If necessary, dialysis treatments also can be provided at alternate facilities for patients – including those from other dialysis companies – whose regular clinics are temporarily unavailable.
FMCNA recommends that dialysis patients have the following plans in place:
Phone numbers. Keep an emergency contacts list, and call your dialysis facility when bad weather threatens.
Disaster plan. Talk to your dialysis care team and family ahead of time about what to do in a disaster. Monitor local weather forecasts.
Emergency supplies. Pre-pack a first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, blankets, radio, cell phone, food and medications.
Transportation. In-center patients should arrange with a friend, neighbor or family member for backup transportation to their clinic.
Power outages. Home dialysis patients should follow the directions given during home training for continuing dialysis in an emergency.
Adjust insulin. Diabetics should ask their doctor how to adjust their insulin dosage if severe storms are forecast for their area.
“We’ve activated our disaster plans to help ensure uninterrupted dialysis treatments for our patients across the Northeast,” said Bill Numbers, senior vice president of operations shared services and incident commander for disaster response and planning at FMCNA. “We prepare for events like this by drawing upon FMCNA’s vast network of resources across the country to help locales in need, typically within hours of a storm.”
FMCNA’s natural disaster response plan has been tested and validated many times in recent years, from Hurricanes Sandy, Ike and Katrina, to last year’s Winter Storm Pax, which left nearly 800,000 homes and businesses across the U.S. South and East Coast without power. As part of its business plan for continuous quality improvement, the company has incorporated the lessons learned from each of these events to improve its processes, resulting in very effective disaster response capabilities.
About Fresenius Medical Care North America
Through its leading network of more than 2,150 dialysis facilities in North America and vascular access centers, laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices, Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. It is also the continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.