Although more than 100 Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) clinics in the mid-Atlantic region were affected by Hurricane Sandy last week, all but one have now resumed operations. FMCNA, the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, is pleased to report that all of its patients and employees are now accounted for and safe, even though many were personally affected by the storm, which caused power outages, widespread flooding and significant property damage. Patients needing emergency help or information about specific dialysis clinics should call FMCNA’s toll-free Patient Emergency Hotline: 1-800-626-1297. The Fresenius Medical Care Disaster Response Team – assisted by divisional, technical and regional employees, local governments and community organizations such as the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition – worked overtime to prepare for and respond to the storm. FMCNA and its partners continue to meet daily to coordinate a variety of critical activities, such as:
- Providing extra treatments to patients at clinics affected by the storm;
- Arranging treatments for patients served by closed clinics, including patients from other dialysis companies;
- Delivering generators, bottled water and warm meals to facilities and employees in need;
- Providing gasoline for employees’ cars and personal generators across New Jersey and New York;
- Supplying motor homes equipped with personal supplies and generators to employees who lost homes or whose homes are not safe to occupy.
FMCNA’s disaster response plan has been tested and validated many times in recent years, from Hurricanes Ike, Isaac and Katrina to tornados, floods and severe thunderstorms. 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.As a result, FMCNA was able to continue serving patients both during and after the storm, in some cases by arranging for them to receive treatment at alternative locations. The Fresenius Medical Care Harlem clinic in New York City, for instance, opened at 5 a.m. on Sunday before the storm to dialyze patients from southern Manhattan, whose usual clinics were closed by emergency officials. The Harlem clinic was able to offer uninterrupted patient care, in part, by providing hotel rooms and cab fare for employees. "When we heard Sandy was going to hit Manhattan, everyone at Fresenius including, our regional vice president, area managers, medical directors, nephrologists, nurses, patient care technicians, support staff, technical group and educators - came together to ensure our patients were cared for," said Erlyn Tanzo, R.N., clinical manager at Fresenius Medical Care Harlem. "I'm so proud to work a company that truly cares about its patients and staff." In New Jersey, FMCNA took the unusual step of bringing in a gasoline tanker to alleviate fuel shortages that were hindering its employees from driving to work. “This helps lift a major worry for our team,” said Ananda Williams-Gray, R.N., area manager for Fresenius Medical Care. “We’ve been able to provide treatment for all our patients in the area without interruption, despite massive power outages and gas shortages. Our team doesn’t have to wait two hours at a gas station; they can depend on Fresenius Medical Care for essentials, such as gas and power.”
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 electrical power outages or inability to access their normal treatment locations. Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) typically need dialysis treatment every two days to clean waste products from their blood, remove extra fluids and control their bodies’ chemistry after their kidneys have failed.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.