The American Kidney Fund is making emergency fund grants available for patients on dialysis who have been affected by Hurricane Michael.
The storm devasted coastal towns in central Florida before moving on to Georgia and South Carolina. It has knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of residents and pushed dialysis providers into taking emergency steps to keep dialysis clinics in operation.
In areas impacted by the hurricane, DaVita Kidney Care, Fresenius Kidney Care and other dialysis clinics have opened their doors to anyone needing treatment.
“Uninterrupted access to care is critical for dialysis patients, so we are prepared to support anyone in need, whether you typically treat with one of DaVita’s coastal clinics or even with another dialysis provider,” Jeffrey Giullian, MD, MBA, vice president of medical affairs at DaVita, said in a press release.
DaVita activated its emergency response plan in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia in the days leading up to Hurricane Michael. The provider has deployed water tankers, fuel tankers, generators, additional supplies and medication to help ensure centers can begin treating patients in impacted locales as soon as possible.
“Over the next 24 hours, our focus is accounting for our patients and teammates, assessing centers in impacted areas and identifying safe shelters,” Giullian said.
Both DaVita and Fresenius proactively dialyzed patients before Michael reached land. DaVita officials said approximately 200 of its dialysis clinics were in the storm’s path. DaVita has set up a blog - blogs.davita.com/emergency-management - for information on center openings during the storm.
The AKF said in a press release that it is processing emergency grants quickly to help patients replace lost medications and special renal diet foods, pay for temporary housing and transportation to treatment, and replace clothing and personal essentials lost in the storm.
Patients affected by the hurricane who need an AKF disaster relief grant should contact their dialysis social worker for information on applying or call AKF directly at 800-795-3226.
“Natural disasters can create life-threatening conditions for dialysis patients, who need regular treatment to live, take numerous medications daily and follow careful diets customized for people with kidney failure,” LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO, said in a press release. “Our Disaster Relief Program is a lifeline for the dialysis patients who find themselves in the path of a natural disaster.”
More information on the program and resources available during disasters can be found at kidneyfund.org/disaster-prep. In addition to emergency phone numbers and state and municipal resources, it contains information about the 3-day emergency diet plan for patients on dialysis.
AKF has provided more than $170,000 to more than 1,000 patients affected by Hurricane Florence. In 2017, AKF provided nearly $850,000 in disaster relief grants to more than 3,800 patients on dialysis affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.