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Embargoed March/April Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet

LESSONS LEARNED FROM HURRICANE KATRINA MAY GUIDE FUTURE DISASTER PLANNING

This essay offers lessons learned by a primary care health care network in Fort Worth, Texas, after caring for a surge of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. The network, made up mostly of family physicians and administrators, took responsibility for 3,700 evacuees. They provided medical care for nearly half (1,664) of the evacuees in a two-week period. Notably, the network prevented its emergency department from being overwhelmed by creating a triage center located several miles away from the hospital and referring almost all evacuees with health care needs to one of the network's primary care clinics. This proved to be an effective approach the emergency department only saw 148 evacuees.

The authors reflect the valuable lessons learned that may aid in future disaster planning:

  • family physicians are an invaluable asset because of their breadth of knowledge and skills,

  • integrated health networks are well equipped to handle the complexities of a major disaster,

  • the greatest medical need for displaced adult disaster victims is continuation of chronic disease care, and

  • immediate mental health efforts should focus on practicalities, such as finding lost relatives.

The authors suggest that these lessons and the success of their approach may help guide future planning efforts for future natural or manmade disasters, particularly for pandemic threats.

Caring for a Surge of Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Primary Care Clinics
By Thomas D. Edwards, D.O., et al.


ADVERSE LITIGATION DOES NOT ALTER FUTURE BEHAVIOR OF CLINICIANS

The impact of a lost legal case did not have an effect on physicians engaging patients in decision-making for prostate cancer screening. This study compared 432 patient and physician responses on an exit questionnaire after health mai
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Contact: Kristin Robinson
kristinr@aafp.org
913-906-6000, ext. 5221
American Academy of Family Physicians
26-Mar-2007


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