JOPLIN: Six Months After the Tornado

Image Courtesy Of ©Simon Kuo, Westside Studio

Today Direct Relief International announced that it is providing additional health care assistance to the people affected by the tornados and storms. Direct Relief will provide grants totaling $258,306 to five clinics and health centers in regions of Missouri and Illinois that suffered extensive damage from tornados and flooding. The funding will enable these clinics, which have experienced economic damage and surges in patient loads since the storms, to continue to provide healthcare service to low-income, uninsured patients. The funding will also help prepare two of the clinics for future emergencies.

In response to the devastating tornados and storms in the Midwest, East and Southeast this year, Direct Relief has provided $3.8 million (wholesale) worth of specifically requested medicines and health supplies to 40 clinics and local response agencies in 14 states. The medical aid includes over 6,000 doses of vaccines, first aid supplies and medications to manage chronic conditions. Continuity of care and access to medications and supplies are essential for people with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and asthma, which are seen in relatively high incidence among clinic patient populations.

“We are fortunate to be able to partner with the health clinics that have been a lifeline to so many in the aftermath of the tornado that struck six months ago,” said Damon Taugher, Director of Direct Relief USA. “Safety net clinics are the medical homes for many low-income, uninsured people. These clinics played an integral role for vulnerable people in their communities immediately after the tornadoes, and they continue to do so. The tornado may have lasted only a few minutes, but it caused the type of personal, financial, and property devastation that lasts for a very long time.”

Direct Relief is the only nonprofit in the United States that is licensed to provide prescription medications in all 50 United States and has extensive experience responding to emergencies throughout the U.S. and internationally. The organization supports over 1,000 safety net clinics in all 50 states, providing needed medicines and medical supplies on an ongoing basis and enabling rapid response during emergencies. More than 100 healthcare companies provide material donations to Direct Relief for this program.

Following the devastating spring storms in the US, the online gaming company Zynga raised over $200,000 by creating an opportunity within “Mafia Wars” for gamers to purchase a special item with proceeds devoted entirely to Direct Relief’s relief and recovery efforts.

Descriptions of the grants announced today are provided below:

  • Community Health Clinic of Joplin. Joplin, Missouri. Direct Relief is supporting the Community Health Clinic of Joplin with $32,076 to provide care to the surge of low-income, uninsured patients seen at the clinic since the tornado. Funds will also support care for patients who have suffered mental health issues since the tornado, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Access Family Care. Joplin, Missouri.To help Access Family Care rebuild and strengthen their services to meet the increased need of the community, Direct Relief will provide the health center with $21,230 for a mobile dental clinic. This clinic will provide school-based, full-service dental care to underserved elementary school children in Joplin.
  • Community Health and Emergency Services, Inc. (CHESI).Cairo, Illinois.CHESI suffered considerable economic damage as a result of the tornadoes and storms. Half of CHESI’s 12 facilities were closed and evacuated and many of its patients traveled out of region for several weeks during the evacuation period. A number of closed, damaged roads also prevented staff and patients from reaching several of CHESI’s facilities until roads were reopened. To help CHESI remain in operation and serving disadvantaged patients, Direct Relief will provide the health center with $100,000.
  • Katy Trail Community Health.Sedalia, Missouri.Katy Trail Community Health is a critical component of medical emergency preparedness and response in western Missouri and is the backup primary healthcare provider in the region if the local hospital is unable to function during a disaster. During power outages, however, Katy Trail Community Health is unable to access their IT systems, including electronic medical records, and climate-controlled vaccines can be destroyed. To address this problem, Direct Relief is providing Katy Trail Community Health with $50,000 to purchase a generator. The generator will allow the health center to maintain the ability to serve patients and the community during power outages and disasters.
  • SEMO Health Network.New Madrid, Missouri. During recent years, SEMO Health Network has provided healthcare in southeastern Missouri during a number of emergencies, including ice storms, flooding, and tornadoes. To better enable SEMO to operate during disasters, Direct Relief is providing the health center with $55,000 to help purchase an outreach van equipped with portable medical equipment and supplies, which SEMO will be able to quickly activate as a mobile health center during emergencies.

 

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