Five patients impacted by Hurricane Maria treated well at NRMC


By Carolyn Roy

Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) has been playing an important role in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico according to CEO Kirk Soileau. NRMC, last week, received five patients from US Virgin Islands, St. Croix and Puerto Rico. Two were critical care and three were medical surgical patients.

NRMC works with the Louisiana Region 7 Hospital Preparedness Coalition, FEMA, DoD and VA.   The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), Federal Coordinating Centers (FCC) have been rotating patient reception from Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.   To date, 35 patient evacuees and 12 non-medical attendees were received at Shreveport FCC / Regional Airport via DoD and federally contracted AMR flights. The agreed upon list of locations receiving patients between DOD, HHS and VA is, in order:

1. Atlanta

2. Shreveport

3. Columbia (DoD)

* If needed, Jackson then Birmingham after those three.

“We coordinated admits that we received here with Region 7 and our medical staff,” Soileau said. “Lt. Commander Leon Snyder from US Public Health Services worked with us as well. He tracked the patients and assisted with any needs we had as well as coordinated disposition.” As US citizens, most of the patients were insured, Soileau said. However, NDMS reimburses payment for services to the hospital at Medicare rates for patients not insured. The hospital prepares for such instances by practicing continued readiness for this and other disasters through drills and education.

“The staff have been honored to participate in the care of these patients. It has been a heartwarming experience,” Soileau said. Natchitoches Regional Medical Center received five patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. While the names of the Region 7 Hospital Preparedness Coalition workers were not available, the NRMC employees who assisted in the project were, from left, Teresa Cox, RN; Elizabeth Chapman, RN; Shamekia Haskett, CNA; Carla Walker, RN; Tiffany Odom, LPN and Kirby Peddy, LMSW.