Tuesday, May 16, 2006

GAO Says Government Unprepared for another Katrina Sized Storm

Dear President Bush,

The investigative arm of Congress suggests government is unready to respond to a powerful hurricane unless the military takes a more active role in the federal response. After reviewing the report, my concern grew as hospital and nursing home patient evacuations once again are missing.

Every federal report issued post Hurricane Katrina lacks clear delineation of responsibility for evacuating hospital and nursing home patients both pre and post hurricane landfall. The GAO report can be thrown on that stack.

While Senator Frist’s family for-profit hospital chain, HCA can afford to hire helicopters to evacuate patients, New Orleans safety net hospitals like Charity lack the resources to commission a fleet of medical evacuation helicopters. They even lack the funds to rebuild their devastated outdated facilities. Who is responsible for evacuating patients from dead hospitals?

With the 2006 hurricane season just weeks away, it looks like hospital patients will need to take your advice:

"Let's, first of all, pray there's no hurricanes," Bush said. "That would be, like, step one."

Who has the capability to move large numbers of sick and wounded at one time? Who evacuated those Key West facilities prior to Hurricane Rita? Whose C-130’s equipped for medical evacuation flew hospital patients to safer ground? Write me back, I want to know.

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