The Texas e-Health Alliance is proud to represent the people and companies that make up the health information technology community in Texas. We live here, we do business here, and we’re all pitching in to help as Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey. Below is a list of hurricane resources that are related to e-health services, customers and initiatives.
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Office of the Governor: Governor Abbott’s office is regularly posting updates about the hurricane recovery efforts at https://gov.texas.gov/.
Texas.gov: The main web portal for the state of Texas has a hurricane resource page at https://emergency.portal.texas.gov/.
Health and Human Services: HHS has applied for waivers from certain conditions on benefits and for extended benefits for Harvey’s victims who need help. HHS is also working with the federal government to get approval to issue disaster SNAP food benefits and emergency SNAP benefits for people in counties with a federal disaster declaration.
- Information for clients: https://hhs.texas.gov/services/financial/disaster-assistance
- Information for providers: https://hhs.texas.gov/services/health/medicaid-chip/provider-information/hurricane-harvey-information-providers
The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services also have a hurricane homepage here.
Texas Health Services Authority: Texas’ state HIE is working with local health information exchanges in the affected areas. For more information, see here.
Occupational Licensing: Texas Governor Greg Abbott has temporarily suspended all necessary statutes and rules to allow licensed health-care providers employed by a hospital and in good standing in another state to practice in Texas to assist with disaster response operations. This suspension is in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the Hurricane Harvey disaster declaration is lifted or expires.
- Texas Medical Board: http://www.tmb.state.tx.us/page/hurricane-harvey-response
- Texas Board of Nursing: https://www.bon.texas.gov/hurricaneharvey.asp
- Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation: https://www.license.state.tx.us/harveyresponse.htm
Department of State Health Services updates are here.
Direct Services and Donations
TeHA member companies are providing direct services to persons, business and organizations affected by the hurricane, as well as making donations to support recovery efforts.
- AmericanWell is offering free visits through September 15th– for more information, click here.
- AT&T has waived fees for customers impacted by Hurricane Harvey. See here for more details. They also have a hurricane resource page here.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is continuing their community support initiatives as the recovery phase of this disaster begins. The Caring for Children Foundation-Care Van Program partnered with the Houston Health Department to deploy nurses and medical professionals for a coordinated response to assist displaced families. The Texas Care Vans and Oklahoma Caring Vans are working to identify and meet the medical needs of those impacted by the storm. Through mobile health outreach, to date, nearly 500 evacuees in the Greater Houston area have received Tetanus or Tdap, a combination vaccine that protects against three bacterial diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis — vaccines at no cost. The program will offer influenza vaccine in the coming weeks. BCBSTX Staff from Community Affairs, Think Blue and Customer Care will be on-site at the NRG Center to provide face-to-face assistance for up to 4,000 evacuees in the Houston area to provide face to face assistance to find doctors, explain benefits and prescription information. Warm and fuzzy-faced BCBSTX mascot Blue Bear will hand out coloring books and crayons to the kids at the shelter. The Mobile Assistance Center will also travel to Beaumont.
- CirrusMD and UT Southwestern have partnered to offer hurricane evacuees free access to an ER physician through the CirrusMD app. More information is available in their press release.
- Cisco customers affected by the hurricane can contact the company’s Crisis Care Team directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Information from Cisco about support and relief is here.
- Doctor on Demand is offering free visits for affected persons through September 8th, and discounted visits through the end of September. More info about their offer is available here.
- LiveHealthOnline is offering free visits here through October 31, 2017.
- Magellan Health has opened a 24-hour crisis line for all Texans affected by the storm and its aftermath. The toll-free number to access free, confidential counseling services is 1-800-327-7451. Magellan will provide free, confidential counseling services and other resources, such as referrals to local non-profit organizations, shelters and additional community-based support to assist Texans as they work to cope with the feelings of fear, sadness, anger and hopelessness related to these kinds of natural disasters. In addition, tip sheets with resources specific to hurricane preparedness, response and recovery can be found on Magellan Health’s website.
- McKesson Corporation and the McKesson Foundation announced a commitment of $100,000 in financial support to nonprofit Direct Relief and $150,000 in-kind donation of medical supplies to World Vision. The donations will be used by the two organizations to provide disaster response to those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, TX area. In addition, McKesson is matching donations made by its employees through the company’s donation matching program.
- MDLive is providing free online doctor visits to persons affected by the hurricane through September 8th– for more information go here.
- Optum is offering a free emotional-support help line to affected individuals. The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters. Along with the toll-free help line, emotional-support resources and information are available online at liveandworkwell.com.
- Superior Health Plan is partnering with RubiconMD, a platform that allows primary care providers to access same-day eConsults from top medical specialists to improve patient care. Through RubiconMD’s digital platform, primary care doctors share relevant, anonymized patient information, ask clinical questions, and receive responses from specialists in over 150 different specialties within hours. This streamlined process enables primary care providers to use these insights to make faster, more informed decisions for their patients. Primary care providers who submit eConsults on the RubiconMD platform report that doing so often allows them to avoid unnecessary referrals, procedures, and tests, and provide better overall care to their patients. To help with some of the healthcare access challenges that the medical community in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey will be facing, they are opening up RubiconMD’s eConsult platform at no cost for Houston-area primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other relevant clinical first responders through the end of the year. Providers can use this link to sign up directly for free access.
- Teladoc is offering free visits both online and by telephone- click here for more information. They are also partnering with the Red Cross to provide additional assistance.
- UnitedHealthcare, Optum and UnitedHealth Group have announced a donation of $1 million to support Texas communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. The company is working with key officials and stakeholders in Texas to determine how the funds can most effectively support relief efforts. In addition, the company is pledging a 2:1 match for employee donations toward disaster-relief efforts, as well as providing incentives and support to those who volunteer.
TeHA’s provider partner organizations are on the front lines of providing relief and resources to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Texas Medical Association has a list of resources: https://www.texmed.org/Disaster/
- The TMA Foundation is soliciting funds to use for grants to help reestablish the delivery of patient care in physician practices in federally designated disaster areas damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The program will help cover expenses (not covered by insurance or other sources of funding) for relocating or rehabilitating a physician’s medical office. This may include replacing equipment, aiding needed staff, rebuilding patient records, and other similar needs all towards the goal of helping affected physicians once again begin treating their patients. For more information, go here.
Texas Hospital Association has put together a resource list: http://www.tha.org/harvey
- THA is soliciting donations for their THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund, which was established to provide financial assistance to employees of hospitals located in one of the FEMA-designated disaster areas who experienced significant property loss during Hurricane or Tropical Storm Harvey or the ensuing floods. By creating a centralized fund focused specifically on the needs of Texas hospital employees, THA will ensure that donations go where they are needed most. In the coming days, THA will share programmatic details as well as materials hospitals can share with employees. In the meantime, donations can be made at THA’s website here.
Biopharmaceutical companies are also responding:
- To support disaster recovery efforts, Healthcare Ready, an organization of private health care stakeholders and government response entities, is coordinating with local and federal agencies to ensure that medical gaps in the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey are addressed. Healthcare Ready’s Rx Open map has been turned on and will provide pharmacy status information for Texas and Louisiana. Sign up for notifications to stay current on their activities here.
- The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is also helping connect individuals with patient assistance programs to replace lost medicines. Get prescription help here.
- For a list of what individual companies in the pharma space are doing to help, check here.
Texas Pharmacy Association has a resource page here.
e-Health in the News
Digital health solutions are being used across Texas as part of the response to Hurricane Harvey. If you have a story you’d like added to this list, email it to email@example.com