AUSTIN, Texas -- A temporary medical facility has opened at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) for disaster-affected residents and workers in Galveston in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The 24-hour urgent care and surgical facility provides life-saving procedures and intensive care long enough to safely transfer patients to other hospitals on the mainland.
According to Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management (GDEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, the $1 million medical facility was requested by the State of Texas and funded by FEMA's Public Assistance Program. Located at 800 Harborside Drive in Galveston, the temporary medical facility is staffed by medical personnel from UTMB.
"Under FEMA's Public Assistance Emergency Protective Measures, certain critical care facilities and services are eligible for funding including electric power, water systems, wastewater systems, communications facilities, education, emergency medical care, fire protection and emergency services," said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman.
"Medical services are a critical need that FEMA, the State of Texas and UTMB are working together to provide as quickly as possible to residents and workers in Galveston after Hurricane Ike," said State Coordinating Officer Joan Haun.
"We are grateful for the invaluable support we have received from FEMA and the State of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike," said Dr. Karen Sexton, chief executive officer for the UTMB Health System. "This facility will enable us to begin addressing some of the medical needs of the Galveston community as we work toward resuming normal operations."
The 6,000-square-foot medical facility is located in the parking lot of UTMB's emergency department and capable of surgical intervention, high level resuscitation, initial wound surgery and post-operative treatment.
Four UTMB hospitals, including Children's Hospital, Jennie Sealy Hospital, John Sealy Hospital and Rebecca Sealy Hospital, as well as an affiliated Shriners Hospital for Children, will not be fully operational for a few months.
The temporary 24-hour urgent care and surgical facility was authorized by FEMA after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identified the continuing need and a formal request was submitted by GDEM. A Disaster Medical Assistance Team provided medical services until this new temporary facility opened.
Under FEMA's permanent work projects, UTMB may also be eligible for cost-share reimbursements to restore damaged facilities to their pre-disaster design.
Public assistance is a program administered by the state and funded by FEMA, the state and local recipients. The program reimburses local and county governments and certain private non-profit organizations for expenses incurred during the disaster and may cover eligible costs for emergency protective measures, debris removal and public facility repair or replacement costs.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.