Health and Wellness Relief in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

June 4, 2014

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the housing, transportation, and education systems were severely affected. The healthcare system in the region managed to weather a breadth of the storm but also suffered some downfalls. More than a dozen hospitals and health care facilities in New York state evacuated their patients to area hospitals or temporary treatment sites set up by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Many hospitals that did not evacuate patients remain open despite power outages affecting the region. Insurance companies such as Cigna are waiving all pre-certification, referral and hospital admission requirements and paying claims for out-of-network services at in-network rates.

Many food producers such as Kraft and General Mills have donated food, water, and other supplies to Feeding America assisting their service areas affected by the storm. Pharmacies have been severely affected by the storm. Even though major drug chains tried to stock up on supplies prior to the hurricane, many are now quickly running out of drugs. An industry organization called Rx Response, established by chain drugstores, pharmaceutical companies is tracking what pharmacies remain openin the areas affected by the storm. In the meantime, businesses such as UnitedHealth Group are allowing customers in the affected region access to early refills and providing free emotional support lines.

Industry associations such as the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) are also reaching out to assist their members post Hurricane Sandy. According to David Fikes, Senior Director for Consumer/Community Affairs and Social Responsibility, Communications at FMI, the association is helping members access special information regarding SNAP and WIC, dealing with store security issues in case of looting, and  food safety concerns information.

The healthcare system in the region was affected by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy but it is not broken. Following the incidents of September 11thand incidents such as anthrax, the U.S. public health system is more secure than it has ever been. Here are some examples:

  • The National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC) has activated a 24/7 emergency response system to support healthcare-critical infrastructure protection, mitigation and recovery.
  • The Food and Drug Administration’s website has information on keeping food and water safe in the aftermath of power outages.
  • HHS initiated a website which provides emergency links and information on food and water safety, disease and injury prevention, shelters, mental health and other resources.  

To find out more what businesses and the public sector is doing in response to Hurricane Sandy please visit our website.