As you know, northeast Nebraska has experienced historical flooding over the last 48 hours. While Faith Regional Health Services (FRHS) campuses and clinics did not suffer property damage, many of Faith Regional’s medical staff and employees were affected by this natural disaster.
Faith Regional implemented its Incident Command Center on Wednesday, March 13th at 2:45 p.m., partnering with Region 11, emergency management, and county and city officials at the Emergency Operations Center.
FRHS Incident Command continually monitored the capacity of area designated evacuation centers, road and levee conditions, as well as internal resources such as staffing, facility capacity, and supplies. With travel restricted to and from Norfolk during this time, the ability to obtain staff and medical or food supplies was inhibited. Due to road and weather conditions, Faith Regional was unable to transport patients to a higher level of care by ground or air.
Knowing and anticipating the disaster could further lead to a greater influx in patient volume, every effort was made to preserve our resources for the medical needs of the community to ensure we had the necessary and proper staffing, capacity and resources available. Persons whom presented at the Emergency Room during this time were evaluated, then admitted or released per normal protocol to the appropriate avenue based on their medical needs. Patients whose conditions didn’t warrant hospital admission and simply needed shelter were referred to area evacuation centers. Patients in need of shelter with medical conditions not requiring hospital care were offered space at St. Joseph’s Care and Rehabilitation Center.
Faith Regional Health Services’ amazing medical staff and employees collaborated with the community in a multitude of different ways to provide resources during this challenging time. Dr. Lane Handke triaged patients stranded in Pierce, while Dr. Leon Gebhardt, Dr. Dan Blomenberg and Dr. Bryon Hirschman voluntarily provided care for those taking shelter at Lutheran High Northeast. In addition, the Pill Box pharmacy supplied pharmaceuticals as needed through the physicians assessing those at the evacuation center; cots were donated to evacuation centers; parking accommodations were made available for the post office; the house supervisors and switchboard operators triaged phone calls from the community, and the list goes on. Neighbors helping neighbors was evident everywhere in the community and within our Faith Regional community! Employees voluntarily opened their homes to co-workers, gave rides to those in need and covered shifts to assist those affected by the flooding.
The disaster plan worked as intended by preserving and utilizing reduced resources enabling us to continue to provide for the medical needs of our community, especially those most vulnerable. We sincerely thank our medical staff, employees, volunteers, city, county and emergency management officials, and community members for the true team effort to provide support, safety, and medical care within our restraints to the people of northeast Nebraska.