Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Author: C. Kaleinani Lau, MPH, Field Coordinator, Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function (RSF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Public Health Analyst, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care Published Date: 3/19/2018 4:48:00 PM
Category: National Health Security; Public Health Preparedness; Response & Recovery;
More than six months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Texas is still recovering. But, with so many people and organizations in need of help, where is the best way for the state of Texas and its partners to focus their health and social services recovery efforts?
Six teams of recovery specialists, led by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, worked with representatives from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services to identify projects as a part of the Health and Social Services Landscape Assessment, which was completed in October 2017.
The assessment found high, sustained levels of stress among responders, clergy, caregivers, school staff members, and students. Health care providers (e.g., hospitals, physicians’ practices, skilled nursing facilities, institutional providers, and other non-institutional providers in rural areas) lacked sufficient access to medical equipment and supplies, pharmaceutical supplies, and medical transport. Plus, existing behavioral health services could not meet the current needs.
With assessment data in hand, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was quick to request follow-up assistance from HHS to support five health and social service projects; the immediate goal being to help the hardest hit areas in Texas recover from the damage caused by Harvey. The long-term goal is to provide Texas health and human service facilities the information and resources needed to enhance their systems statewide and build resiliency for future storms.
Once these projects are complete, the federal government will utilize lessons learned from each project to improve the resources and services it offers other states during the post-disaster recovery phase.
The landscape assessment and project-based technical assistance provided to Governor Abbott is available to any state, local, territorial, or tribal official that activates the Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function within the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
Need disaster recovery subject matter expertise, technical assistance, or planning support? See what the federal government’s Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function can do for your state. State, local, territorial, or tribal officials with questions can reach out to the ASPR Recovery Team.
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