The third stage Where are the patients

As people were eventually allowed to return to their homes, new challenges emerged to healthcare delivery. These challenges were more difficult to anticipate, and less outside assistance was provided in meeting them. The challenge to the healthcare system at this stage was primarily economic, from reduced patient volumes seen despite the reduction in the total number of hospitals. The average daily census of hospital beds in the region fell by 50% during the 4 month period after the storm, from 2,500 patients to 1,237 (Louisiana Pubic Health Institute, "NOLA Dashboard", and U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2006). In a free market health care system, reduced patient volume directly translates into reduced revenue, and hospitals began reporting significant financial losses. Bond ratings were lowered, limiting hospitals' ability to borrow money. While the reduced patient volumes and financial losses are easy to document, they were harder to explain. Facing this same challenge in my practice, I prepared a compilation of the patient visits and new referrals before and after the storm, and with this can postulate an explanation which may be relevant to the recovery phase following other natural disasters, hurricanes or otherwise.

Survival Basics

Survival Basics

This is common knowledge that disaster is everywhere. Its in the streets, its inside your campuses, and it can even be found inside your home. The question is not whether we are safe because no one is really THAT secure anymore but whether we can do something to lessen the odds of ever becoming a victim.

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