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Katrina, Gustav, Ike...

September 9, 2008
by Doug Edwards
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Can you imagine working on the Gulf Coast these days? Every time a storm forms, even way out in the Atlantic, you have to start thinking about evacuations, disaster plans, and the like. After Katrina, people's perceptions of hurricanes changed, and communities expect their human service agencies to be prepared.

One agency operating in this new reality is the Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority in Metairie, Louisiana, which described how it was recovering two years after Katrina in our September 2007 issue. Gay LeBlanc, MSW, acting executive director, recently shared with me their experience with Gustav:

JPHSA re-opened for business [Monday] at 8 a.m. Since Katrina, we have implemented new procedures and tightened up others. Although not enjoyable, execution of our emergency plans went well. During Gustav, we posted announcements on our external website and were able to communicate with one another through an internet bulletin board. We do have a few employees who have not been able to return as of yet due to property damage, no electricity, etc.

It looks like Ike is taking his eye off the Louisiana coast but no matter where he lands, behavioral health agencies will certainly be affected.



A great way for practices living in the Gulf Coast to feel safe about their practices' information is to implement a Internet-based practice management system. With this type of software your practice would be up and running in days if any disaster were to hit your area. Not only does this software keep your data safe, but it can also be used anywhere, anytime. So if you had to leave your area for a short time due to a natural disaster, you could still have the ability to reach your information. If you want to know more about this type of practice management system, visit www.nuemd.com.

Over and over and OVER again, we've seen our colleagues in behavioral health stand up to the challenges. Whether it be a natural disaster, a massive tragedy such as the Columbine school shootings, or funding cutbacks from administrations that just don't get it, behavioral health providers somehow manage to meet their communities' most critical needs. It sometimes involves pulling rabbits out of hats, but we're there when people need us the most. Best of luck to all of you in Ike's path!

Doug Edwards

Vice President and Managing Director

Doug Edwards


Doug Edwards is Vice President and Managing Director of Vendome Healthcare Media’s Mental Health...

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