Hospitals better equipped to handle disaster

Rick Rogers

Freeman Health System recently received a cache of equipment and supplies for Freeman Hospital West and Freeman Neosho Hospital designed to increase capacity in the event of a large-scale disaster.

Funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Hospital Preparedness Program, the resources include cots, bedding and basic medical supplies for responding to an expected patient surge.

“This is for the community,” said Joe Yust, director of facilities management at Freeman Neosho Hospital. “If there is a disaster in the area, and we need additional beds in a place to house people with medical needs, we can set up this equipment across the street, at an alternate care site or downtown.”

The equipment can also be transported to a site out of town to assist another medical teams in caring of patients in an emergency.

Hospitals were chosen to receive the equipment based on their ability to store the inventory, willingness to assume responsibility, access to major transportation corridors and a hazard vulnerability assessment.

Other hospitals receiving the equipment include Cox Monett Hospital, Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, Hannibal Regional Hospital, Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston, Skaggs Community Health Center in Branson, St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon, and University Hospital and Clinics in Columbia.

The medical supplies and equipment will be stored on site, and kept in a climate-controlled area at Freeman Neosho.

“It may be used in one year, maybe in five years, maybe further down the road,” said Daxton Holcomb, CEO of Freeman Hospital. “But we will have it on site when we need it. Unfortunately, we have had several events here recently where we could of used, or were near needing to use, emergency supplies, particularly with the tornado (on May 10).”

Neosho Daily News