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Chronic illness persists during a natural disaster, and health care systems around Houston and across Texas are working to connect cancer and dialysis patients with needed treatment following Hurricane Harvey.
While cancer patients should first contact their medical teams for advice on how to proceed with treatment, Debra Patt, an oncologist in Austin and vice president of Texas Oncology, said communication lines in and around Houston and Southeast Texas are often down and “many patients may not know what is the right thing to do.”
In response, Texas Oncology, a network of more than 170 clinics scattered across the state, has established a triage hotline — 1-888-864-4226 — for cancer patients in active treatment to call if they want to find a facility closest to where they are, as well as a website to search for nearby oncology specialists in the network. If patients have left Texas, they can contact the U.S. Oncology group to connect with network partners nearest to them.
“The medical community in Texas is really trying to do everything we can to support the Harvey victims during this terrible tragedy,” Patt said. “It’s really nice to see anyone working together.”
The Harris Health System serves 6,000 patients daily as a public health safety net network of clinics and care for a population of more than 320,000 people. Both of the system’s emergency departments are open and admitting patients who can overcome floodwaters, said spokesman Bryan McLeod.
“We’re doing everything we can to get our facilities back and operable as soon as we can,” he said.
The system, which normally operates 16 pharmacies, will reopen one location at Smith Clinic on Friday at 8 a.m. to make emergency refills at 2525A Holly Hall Street in Houston.
Mental Health and Stress
Disaster Distress Hotline
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to talk to a crisis counselor trained to help, available 24 hours a day year-round.
Magellan Crisis Line
This 24-hour confidential counseling hotline is available free to all Texas residents.
National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine
Call this free hotline Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., ET to connect with mental health information, counseling referrals and support.
More than 170 locations throughout Texas
This network is taking Houston-area cancer patients who need treatment, regardless of whether they were in or out of the network before Hurricane Harvey.
2525A Holly Hall Street, Houston, Texas
Harris Health System will provide radiation oncology at this location at 8 a.m. CT on Thursday, August 31.
Emergency Room Services
Ben Taub Hospital
1504 Taub Loop
Houston, Texas 77030
Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital
5656 Kelley Street
Houston, TX 77026
2525A Holly Hall Street, Houston, Texas
One of 16 pharmacy locations in Houston’s Harris Health System network, this location will offer emergency medication refills starting at 8 a.m. CT on Friday, Sept. 1.
American Lung Association
If you are concerned about air quality following Hurricane Harvey, the American Lung Association encourages patients to call this number and ask nurses and respiratory therapists.
American Heart Association
This map of recognized hospitals is available to heart patients displaced by the storm.
MDLive telehealth visit
Promotional code: HARVEY
Hurricane-affected residents of Texas and Louisiana can receive free telehealth visits with a physician until Sept. 8.
Diabetes and Kidney Disease
Fresenius Kidney Care
Dialysis patients who live in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey can call this hotline to connect with disaster response resources and treatment.
Out-of-state doctors who want to help
If you are a hospital physician, email TMBtransition@tmb.state.tx.us with your name, area of speciality, state where you’re license, and identification number.
If you are a practicing physician, but not in a hospital, learn how to expedite your permit here: http://www.tmb.state.tx.us/page/visiting-physician-temporary-permit
This list will be updated as more resources become available.
Laura Santhanam is the Data Producer for the PBS NewsHour. Follow @LauraSanthanam
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