Fresenius Medical Care Gears Up for Third Storm
As Hurricane Ike threatens the Gulf Coast this week, Fresenius Medical Care North America, operator of the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, is preparing its patients and clinics for the third storm in two weeks. Dialysis patients are especially at risk during hurricanes because they need treatment every other day to survive.
“Our employees have worked tirelessly to care for patients through these devastating storms,” said Mats Wahlstrom, co-CEO of Fresenius Medical Care North America. “They have done an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances. The entire Fresenius team has demonstrated that we are the true leaders of our industry and that we care deeply about our patients. This has been a tremendous demonstration of teamwork, and that is what our mission at Fresenius is all about.”
About 110 Fresenius Medical Care facilities were impacted by Hurricane Gustav, causing an estimated 7,000 dialysis patients to change their scheduled treatment sessions in order to get dialysis before the storm.
Because of Gustav, Fresenius temporarily closed 93 dialysis clinics in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. However, 87 of those reopened within three days, largely because of the company’s comprehensive disaster plan. As of Tuesday, only three clinics in coastal Louisiana remained closed because of the storm.
Before Gustav hit the Gulf Coast, Fresenius instituted a 24-hour Patient Disaster Hotline, 1 (800) 626-1297, which anyone on dialysis – whether or not they are Fresenius patients – can call to find the closest dialysis clinic if they need to evacuate or their usual clinic is closed. Since Sept. 29, Fresenius has received more than 1,240 calls – the majority of them from Louisiana residents who were evacuating and needed to find a dialysis clinic in another area.
“The past few weeks, Fresenius employees have taken extraordinary measures to care for patients through Hurricane Gustav, Tropical Storm Hanna, and now Hurricane Ike,” Wahlstrom said. “Our staff have worked around the clock to provide life-sustaining dialysis even in areas where there is no electricity, thanks to backup generators in many of our clinics.”
In addition, Fresenius Medical Care:
— Took in more than 500 patients from other dialysis providers throughout the South, while taking care of its own patients
— Sent backup generators, water, fuel and mobile homes to the Gulf in preparation for Gustav
— Delivered personal generators and food supplies to many employees whose homes are still without electricity in Louisiana
— Gave patients disaster plans, dietary guidelines and wristbands with their medical information, in case they needed to transfer to another clinic
— Purchased an ice machine for clinics in Louisiana because ice was not available
— Sought out patients at emergency shelters who had missed dialysis appointments, and assisted in organizing their treatments
— Provided gasoline for employees so they could get to work to provide patient care, since no gasoline was available at local stations
In parts of Louisiana, the stocks of grocery stores had been depleted. Fresenius staff who chose to stay and provide critical treatment for patients could not get food. So Fresenius Medical Care sent employees to unaffected grocery stores in Lafayette, La. to shop for 19 clinics in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. At some clinics, outdoor grills were set up so employees could cook food from home before it spoiled due to lack of refrigeration.
“We’re so grateful that the Fresenius team truly came together to help both our employees and patients,” said Bernadette Vincent, vice president of operations for Fresenius Medical Care’s South Business Unit. “It’s much easier for our staff who evacuated to return home and care for our patients if they have some of their own needs met.”
About Fresenius Medical Care North America
Fresenius Medical Care North America is a subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA, the world’s largest integrated provider of products and services for individuals undergoing dialysis because of chronic kidney failure, a condition that affects more than 1,600,000 individuals worldwide. Through its network of 2,297 dialysis clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, Fresenius Medical Care provides dialysis treatment to approximately 177,059 patients around the globe. Fresenius Medical Care is also the world’s leading provider of dialysis products such as hemodialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products. Fresenius Medical Care is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FME, FME3) and the New York Stock Exchange (FMS, FMS-p).
For more information about Fresenius Medical Care’s U.S. network of more than 1,650 dialysis facilities, visit the Company’s website at www.ultracare-dialysis.com. For more information about Fresenius Medical Care, visit the Company’s websites: www.fmcna.com or www.fmc-ag.com.