For Immediate Release: November 7, 2012
AtlantiCare's dedicated physicians and staff - as well as its business and community partners -
were key to AtlantiCare's providing care before, during and after Superstorm Sandy, as was the organization's commitment to emergency preparedness.
The following summary illustrates some of the many ways AtlantiCare cared - and continues to care for our community - whom Sandy impacted.
• AtlantiCare Leadership and its Emergency Preparedness Team monitored weather reports about the storm from its first forecast, throughout and after the storm.
• AtlantiCare implemented its 96 hour Hurricane Preparedness plan Thursday, October 25. This plan covers staffing and all operations. We regularly drill for disasters – including weather-related incidents.
• AtlantiCare consulted with local, regional and state emergency management officials before, during and after the storm.
• We activated command centers in each hospital campus as well as at AtlantiCare’s Information Technology offices in Egg Harbor Township Sunday.
• ARMC’s Mainland Campus in Pomona; Atlantic City Campus in Atlantic City and its Satellite Emergency Department in Hammonton remained opened to care for patients through super storm Sandy. All surgical and internal medicine specialties were in house at ARMC Atlantic City Campus through the storm.
• ARMC Atlantic City and Mainland campuses remained on full power throughout the storm. ARMC’s Satellite Emergency Department used generator power for one hour during the storm.
• ARMC cancelled elective procedures Monday and Tuesday. Most elective procedures resumed Wednesday.
• All AtlantiCare outpatient and primary care facilities closed Monday, October 29, in accordance with the state of emergency, with the exception of ARMC’s Cancer Care Institute, a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, in Egg Harbor Township, which remained open Monday until 11:30 a.m. to provide radiation treatments to patients for whom treatment could not be delayed. Chemotherapy and other infusion services as well as all radiation therapy services at the Cancer Care Institute resumed Wednesday.
• More than 100 physicians and staff, who know they are essential to the care of our community, stayed overnight at ARMC’s Mainland and Atlantic City Campuses – or at hotels/casino hotels (including Trump Plaza, Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, Sheraton Atlantic City and Seaview Stockton, Galloway – all of which opened rooms for us despite being closed) to ensure we continued to provide care for, and keep patients safe and comfortable.
• AtlantiCare’s Mission HealthCare management team ensured homeless people had medication and medical treatment by visiting them at a temporary shelter in Egg Harbor Township until Mission Health Care offices reopened at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and in the William L. Gormley AtlantiCare HealthPlex.
• AtlantiCare Behavioral Health staff made home visits or visited patients in shelters to ensure patients with severe and persistent mental illnesses had continued access to treatment and medication.
• AtlantiCare vendors Medline and Owens & Minor donated scrubs, linens, wash clothes, towels and other items – items they supply to the hospital - to the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management to help meet the community’s needs for clothing and linens, etc.
• ARMC suspended visiting hours Sunday through the end of the state of emergency. ARMC sheltered or assisted visitors who travelled during the state of emergency in finding shelter.
• Inpatient numbers remained high throughout the storm and most of the week after the storm, in part because some patients who were ready for discharge could not go back to their homes.
• ARMC Atlantic City Campus used bottled water for drinking during Atlantic City’s boil water advisory period.
• During Atlantic City’s boil water advisory period, ARMC transported dialysis patients to other facilities for their treatments. Dialysis services reopened Friday at 10 a.m. and normal hours (5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday) resumed Saturday.
• Twenty babies were born at the Rodger B. Hansen Center for Childbirth at ARMC Atlantic City Campus from Sunday through Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m., including one set of twins. No babies were born while Sandy was actually over NJ.
• Trauma and Emergency patient visits were lower than normal from Sunday through Tuesday (Most likely because state of emergency kept people off the roads).
• Emergency visits to both campuses increased as roadways/shore towns opened Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. ARMC’s Mainland Campus Emergency Department experienced a greater surge in patient volume during the time access to Atlantic City was restricted.
• ARMC was prepared to expand its emergency department/center operations at both hospital campuses if needed (by using additional hospital areas, ARMC EMS ambulance buses and AtlantiCare Community Health Mobile, which were set up and ready) over the weekend.
• ARMC Emergency Medical Services, which is the leader of the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services EMS Task Force South, provided medical assistance at shelters and/or command center support for Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties.
• ARMC Nursing staff provided medical assistance at shelters throughout the region as requested by Emergency Management officials.
• Retired AtlantiCare nurses provided support at shelters in Atlantic County after contacting ARMC’s command centers to see how they could help.
• ARMC provided meals for those with diabetes at a shelter in Atlantic City.
• AtlantiCare’s Access Center, which normally operates 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekdays, remained open 24/7 from Tuesday, October 30 at 8 a.m. through Friday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. to help our community access care.
• Most AtlantiCare Urgent Care Centers (Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties) resumed normal operations and hours by Friday, November 2.
• AtlantiCare physicians and staff are supporting each other with their post-Superstorm Sandy needs in part through posting offers of assistance and statements of need on an employee forum AtlantiCare opened on its intranet. Offers include employees and their families willing assist with clean-up and to donate clothing, furniture, and/or food. One employee even offered to prepare and deliver two roasts to a colleague in need. Staff are also turning to and contributing financially to AtlantiCare’s Starfish Fund, a fund to which physicians and staff have contributed to help physicians and staff facing catastrophic situations for about 14 years.
Jennifer Tornetta, 609-569-7010,
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