When severe thunderstorms left a trail of property destruction and power outages stretching from Illinois to New Jersey on June 29, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) immediately activated its Emergency Task Force, which initiated disaster response plans to assure uninterrupted service for patients at 45 affected clinics across the region. FMCNA, which operates the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, takes special precautions to prepare for hurricanes, tornados and other natural disasters, to help meet the healthcare needs of kidney dialysis patients, who require treatment every two to three days to stay alive and healthy. The recent storms left more than 4 million people without electrical service and interrupted many communities’ access to water, gasoline and other crucial supplies, posing a serious health hazard to more than 71,000 dialysis patients in the 10 states. FMCNA’s emergency generators kicked in and supplied power to dozens of its clinics across the region. Meanwhile, the company’s operations staff rolled out pre-positioned emergency supplies – including water, ice, fuel, generators, food, medical supplies and more – to the affected areas. For example, FMCNA’s Emergency Task Force worked with local teams in West Virginia in the hours and days after the storm to coordinate the delivery of thousands of cases of bottled water to clinics and home dialysis patients who lost municipal water service. The Emergency Task Force also delivered water, portable power generators and gasoline to storm-affected employees, helping them to resolve their personal difficulties so they could focus on serving patients. In West Virginia’s hard-hit Greenbrier County, FMCNA provided in-center dialysis for nearly 30 patients from another local dialysis provider, whose clinic initially lacked sufficient water supplies. “Our advance preparations allowed us to continue our own patients’ dialysis treatments in the aftermath of the storms and to provide support to the entire Greenbrier renal community” said Sharon Deluca, FMCNA’s director of operations for 10 affected West Virginia clinics.
Natural disasters strike throughout the year, and when such events occur, FMCNA coordinates efforts across all levels of the company, ensuring the ability of staff to provide patients with dialysis treatments, equipment and supplies, medicines and lab services. The company also works in tandem with local governments and community organizations such as the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition, hazmat teams and others. It also activates an emergency hotline so that any dialysis patient – whether they are a regular FMCNA patient or not – can arrange to receive treatments.“In recent years we have seen natural disasters occurring in more populated areas, which have greatly impacted our patients and clinics. Our job is to prepare for these types of disasters to ensure our patients’ safety,” said Dr. Babajide Salako, director of Global Pandemic Response Operations, FMCNA. “FMCNA’s resources and national partnerships give us the ability to coordinate the delivery of resources from across the country to any locale within hours of a disaster.” FMCNA’s natural disaster response plan has been tested and validated many times in recent years, from Hurricanes Ike and Katrina, to last year’s tornadoes and floods in Alabama and Missouri. For more information on FMCNA’s natural disaster response efforts and important tips to help patients prepare for any emergency, visit FMCNA’s Emergency Preparedness website. About Fresenius Medical Care Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) is the world’s leading company devoted to patient-centered renal therapy. Through more than 3,119 clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, we provide kidney dialysis treatments to approximately 253,000 patients worldwide. We are also the world’s leading maker of dialysis products, such as dialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products. Chronic kidney failure is a condition that affects more than 2.1 million individuals worldwide. For more information about the company’s more than 2,100 U.S. dialysis facilities, visit www.ultracare-dialysis.com (in English and Spanish). For more information about Fresenius Medical Care, visit www.fmc-ag.com or www.fmcna.com.