With dozens of healthcare facilities closed due to Hurricane Irma, South Florida patients displaced by the storm or just distressed from the chaos began to find help on Tuesday help as some pharmacies and most hospitals in the region resumed regular operations.
Local hospitals, many capable of filling prescriptions at outpatient clinics, reported that they were reopening medical centers and pharmacies for patients. In addition, Walgreens reported that more than 500 drugstores had reopened in Florida while CVS said that more than 600 pharmacies in the Sunshine State were back in business.
Still, many healthcare facilities remained hobbled by the hurricane. At least 174 hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities in Florida were still closed Tuesday afternoon, state health officials reported.
Among the closures were 17 hospitals, 33 nursing homes and 83 assisted living facilities statewide, said the Agency for Health Care Administration. Separately, 49 hospitals and 111 nursing homes in Florida were relying on backup generators for power as of Tuesday morning, state officials said.
At the Hampton Court Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Miami Beach, there was no air conditioning for the 120 elderly and disabled patients but diesel-powered generators kept medical devices running and the food refrigerated, said Lynn Granata, a registered nurse and administrator of the facility.
Granata had called WLRN-91.3 FM radio station on Tuesday asking about the availability of diesel fuel for Hampton Court. She said the nursing home had about 48 hours worth of fuel and needed to restock. But they also had gasoline generators for backup, she said.
“We’re actually doing pretty good,” Granata said later. “Somebody did call us back and we got diesel.”
Hampton Court also had medication and milk products delivered on Tuesday, Granata said.
And though the privately run nursing home was at capacity for the storm, Granata said many patients had sheltered there and were preparing to return to their homes.
“Right now our patients are doing fine,” she said. “They’re warm, but we have medicine. We have everything that we need. Our pharmacy delivered that today. We got food delivery today, too. Borden delivered our milk products today. So we’re almost back to normal.”
Miami Herald Staff Writer David Neal contributed to this report.
Hospital systems, healthcare facilities resume regular operations
- The University of Miami Health System’s three facilities — UM Hospital, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute — remained open but canceled outpatient services. All UHealth facilities are scheduled to resume normal operations on Wednesday, said Lisa Worley, a spokeswoman.
- Mercy Hospital in Miami, which had evacuated patients ahead of Hurricane Irma, reported that it had resumed operations after the storm and advised family members of patients who were transferred to call 844-674-7431 or visit mercymiami.com for status updates.
- Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach remained open, as did the medical center’s standalone emergency room in Aventura. CEO Steven Sonenreich said Mount Sinai had done extensive hurricane preparations after a flurry of storms in 2004 and 2005, including investing in a new power plant that could take 180 mph winds and raising generators above the flood plain.
- Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade’s public hospital network, said most of its services, including specialty pharmacies in Miami can fill some prescriptions from the community.
All hospitals and emergency rooms at Jackson’s three campuses in Miami, North Miami Beach and South Dade remained opened during the storm, but on Tuesday the hospital system resumed elective surgeries and outpatient services at all locations, said spokeswoman Lidia Amoretti. The hospital system’s pharmacy also is open and ready to refill any prescriptions written at Jackson facilities, she said.
Some of Jackson’s community clinics, however, remained closed, including the Rosie Lee Wesley Health Center in South Miami, which will reopen Wednesday. Several Jackson facilities remained closed due to power outages, too, including the North Dade Health Center in Miami Gardens, the Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center in Miami, and urgent care centers in Country Walk and North Miami’s Keystone Point neighborhood.
- Memorial Healthcare System in South Broward reopened its medical office building in Hollywood. Memorial Physician Group offices will reopen Wednesday morning as the hospital system’s staff reschedules appointments for patients, said Kerting Baldwin, a spokeswoman. Memorial’s community health clinics in Hollywood and Hallandale beach also reopened Tuesday, with pharmacy hours at the Hollywood location on Pembroke Road.
The Memorial Cancer Institute in Hollywood resumed regular operating hours Tuesday. For patients needing prescription drugs, all hospital outpatient pharmacies are open, with Memorial Regional Hospital keeping extended hours until 9 p.m. Tuesday.
- OneBlood, a nonprofit that supplies blood to more than 200 hospitals in most of Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, announced a resumption of collections for all blood types.
On Wednesday, OneBlood will station a Big Red Bus at four Memorial facilities, including hospitals in Hollywood, Miramar and Pembroke Pines, and the Memorial Pembroke 24/7 Care Center, also in Pembroke Pines. A separate blood collection site will be set up at Memorial Hospital of Pembroke.
- Broward Health, which serves North Broward, reported that all hospitals remain open along with most of the system’s outpatient centers and administrative offices. However, the hospital system’s Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center remained closed Tuesday due to a power outage. “We are hoping it can open tomorrow,” said Charlotte Mather, a spokeswoman.
Broward Health’s community health clinics were still recovering, some offering limited services and others closed due to lack of power and water intrusion. However, Mather said, patients can fill prescriptions, with limitations, at the Alicki Health Center in Fort Lauderdale.
The Braynon Family Health Center in Fort Lauderdale and the Margate Health Center were operating urgent care centers only. In addition, Broward Health’s comprehensive care center for HIV/AIDS treatment is fully operational as is the Alicki center that provides healthcare for the homeless. Coral Springs and Weston urgent care centers also are open.