Online Program

When the levee breaks: How metropolitan hospital center accommodated a flood of patients in the aftermath of hurricane sandy and several hospital closures in downtown manhattan

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Ethan Jacobi, BA, Ambulatory Care Services, Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York, NY
Marcie Sara Rubin, MPH, MBA, Business Development/Ambulatory Care Services, Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York, NY
Background: On October 30th, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the Atlantic coast. In New York City, high winds, heavy rains, and rising water levels lead to generators failing at several hospitals in downtown Manhattan. Successful evacuations were achieved thanks to the quick action by hospital staff and first responders. However, the problems for these hospitals were only just beginning. It would be more than two months before Bellevue Medical Center fully re-opened. In the meantime, it fell on other local public hospitals to absorb the patient workload. Metropolitan Hospital Center, a member of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation took steps to ensure that patients would receive the same level of care they would have received at Bellevue. Methods: Metropolitan Hospital Center (MHC) opened up an emergency walk-in center for patients displaced by the storm. In addition, the normal outpatient areas prepared for a surge of new patients. Bellevue staff, who were also displaced by the storm, hastily joined the team at MHC and helped where they could. Extensive I.T. preparations had to be made to ensure that patient records were accessible. Throughout the ordeal, data on patient volume was collected via front-end and back-end processes. During the period from October 28th, 2012 to January 18th, 2013, numerous departments kept track of patients, staff, and payments resulting from the storm. Results: 5,155 visits were recorded, netting $266,541 in payments. 1,141 of these visits were for primary care services. In addition, 124 physicians we added to the roles at MHC, not to mention countless ancillary staff. Conclusion: In the aftermath of one of the worst storms ever to hit New York City, Metropolitan Hospital Center stepped up and played a pivotal role in the continuation of outpatient medical services to a population that desperately needed it.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe the steps taken to address outpatient needs for low income New York City residents after Hurricane Sandy. Discuss the impact of increased outpatient workload on a municipal hospital after Hurricane Sandy.

Keyword(s): Climate Change, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For the past five years, I have worked in an administrative position within the outpatient department at Metropolitan Hospital Center, a municipal hospital in New York City that served a vital role in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.