Healthcare Facility Regulation Division Receives Recognition for Coordinating Post-Hurricane Maria Evacuee Medical Services

May 9, 2018
ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), Healthcare Facility Regulation Division (HFRD), received a 2018 National Quality, Safety & Oversight Achievement Award for Dialysis Services in appreciation for coordinating healthcare services for evacuees from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. The award was presented to HFRD by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) during the Survey Executives Training Institute (SETI) conference held in Baltimore April 18-20, 2018.
Shortly after Hurricane Maria devastated the two islands, more than 100 patients were evacuated to the Atlanta area and placed in extended stay hotels. In addition to needing dialysis services, the patients also needed private home care. DCH contacted subsequent providers, and assisted CMS in coordinating care for these individuals. 
“Working through the aftermath of this natural disaster was a significant reminder to the HFRD staff that protecting patients is not always a Monday through Friday, 9-5 job,” said Melanie Simon, Division Chief, HFRD.  “I am so proud of this team. The work was intense, yet they remained focused and dedicated to ensuring that those affected by the storm were able to receive the appropriate medical care.”
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and several provider associations were also highly instrumental in executing this effort.  DCH staff, inclusive of Fe Smith, Director of Specialized Services (including ESRD/Dialysis); Shawnna White, a member of the dialysis team; and LaShika Floyd, Director of Private Home Care Services, similarly led the charge in the coordination of the services provided to the evacuees.
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