Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, health centers are still treating patients for depression and behavioral health issues according to a segment on Louisiana’s WWLTV. Peggy LaNasa Barrios, a nurse coordinator, explains that
“We’ve had people break down and cry saying they didn’t know where else they could turn…We see a lot of behavioral health issues because of the trauma from Katrina. It’s not over and it never has been over.”
Many people who fled New Orleans in 2005 sought care at St. Charles Community Health Center (STCCHC) because they couldn’t get back into the city for care. Utilizing humanitarian aide, STCCHC has been able to continue to care for the multitude of patients they receive. STCCHC has also stockpiled hurricane medical supplies for the future.
Community Health Centers are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of communities in the wake of a disaster. In the days following the massive storm, when state and federal response efforts were overwhelmed, health centers were able to act quickly to care for people in need because they had the existing networks on the ground and in communities to respond and reach out. Health centers treated 19,300 evacuees in Louisiana, and 17,870 in Mississippi.
Health centers are not only the best choice for people displaced by tragedies, the uninsured, and underinsured, but also for those with insurance. They provide top-quality health care with a personal touch.