Fresenius Medical Care Connected Patients to Life-Saving Treatments, Has Continued to Lead Industry in Disaster Response
WALTHAM, Mass. – A decade after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) celebrates the remarkable stories of its employees and volunteers who connected patients to life-saving dialysis treatments during and after the storm. The company is also proud to continue to lead the industry in preparing for future natural disasters.
Katrina left millions on the Gulf Coast without homes, power, water and vital medical services. More than 7,000 people with chronic kidney disease did not have access to life-saving treatments because the storm shut down 100 dialysis clinics in the region – including 40 FMCNA facilities.
In response, FMCNA, North America’s largest provider of kidney care and a division of Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS), mobilized resources and staff so thousands of patients could receive life-saving dialysis treatment and care before, during and after the storm. As local infrastructure was falling apart, FMCNA stepped in to provide the resources and expertise necessary to provide care when it was needed most to thousands of dialysis patients, including more than a thousand of whom were not regular FMCNA patients.
“Our employees remained in the Katrina-affected areas and volunteered by the hundreds to care for our patients in the days and months after the storm,” said Franklin W. Maddux, MD, Chief Medical Officer of FMCNA. “They embody Fresenius Medical Care’s patient-centered mission, which is at the center of everything we do.”
The company arranged a caravan, including more than 100 mobile homes, to bring employees, food, clothing, medical equipment and supplies to the region after the storm. For displaced patients and employees, FMCNA created a makeshift village with mobile homes and tents outside Gulfport, Miss., which also served as a temporary treatment center. Along with regular clinic staff, nearly 200 Fresenius Medical Care employees volunteered, and the staff treated thousands of dialysis patients.
For patients, this care was about much more than just dialysis. It was also about emotional support during a crisis. Peggy Johnson, a 15-year Fresenius Medical Care patient from Gulfport, formed a close-knit bond with the nurse who treated her during the storm. “The uncertainty was scary,” said Johnson. “We had to depend on someone else to make sure we got dialyzing. You’ve got this friendly face comforting you, and they bring you something to eat, too, and say, ‘it’ll be all right.’ That goes a long way when you can’t do anything by yourself.”
Building on its experience with Katrina, FMCNA has committed to improving future emergency response and has taken a number of steps, including additional investments in standby resources that can be deployed anywhere in the country, creating a Regional Disaster Preparedness Manual that provides resources for each region, and supporting legislation that allows nurses to work in multiple states.
“Our disaster response approach is comprehensive. In addition to caring for patients, we deploy essential resources such as food, water, fuel and shelter to staff and others in the affected areas to help them get through the crisis,” said William Valle, executive vice president of FMCNA and president of Fresenius Medical Services. “It is gratifying to hear from patients and learn that in ways both big and small we were able to be of service during that difficult time. It’s also what inspires our ongoing commitment and investment into our disaster and emergency preparedness program.”
The Fresenius Medical Care Incident Command Team, consisting of divisional, technical and regional employees, has years of experience working with local governments and community organizations to prepare for and respond to various disasters, from hurricanes and tornadoes to floods and ice storms. By setting up an Emergency Hotline and coordinating with its Fresenius Medical Care Renal Therapies Group, TruBlue Logistics and Fresenius Vascular Care businesses, the company provides patients with dialysis equipment, medicine and supplies, vascular care and critical information so dialysis patients know how to access vital treatments even in times of crisis.
Because of these and other initiatives, the company has been recognized by FEMA and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), which gave FMCNA its 2010 IAEM-USA Business & Industry Preparedness Award.
To learn more about how our efforts helped patients during Katrina and other natural disasters around the country, please visit www.freseniusmedicalcare.us.
About Fresenius Medical Care North America
Fresenius Medical Care North America is the premier health care company focused on delivering the highest-quality care to people with renal and other chronic conditions. Through its industry-leading network of dialysis facilities, outpatient cardiac and vascular labs and urgent care centers, as well as the country’s largest practice of hospitals and post-acute providers, Fresenius Medical Care provides coordinated health care services at pivotal care points for hundreds of thousands of chronically ill customers throughout the continent. As the world’s only vertically integrated renal company, it offers specialty pharmacy and laboratory services, and manufactures and distributes the most comprehensive line of dialysis equipment, disposable products and renal pharmaceuticals. For more information, visit the FMCNA website at www.freseniusmedicalcare.us.