Harvey closes CRMC, plans to reopen begin
Care Regional Medical Center administrators evacuated patients before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, and fully expected to be back in business the following Monday. Unfortunately, the damage from the hurricane was so severe, the facility is being gutted, and will have to be completely rebuilt from the inside. How long that will take is not known, but hospital administrator Kerry Upton assured it will be rebuilt.
She explained CRMC received damages beyond what was expected, and now the entire facility is being gutted and dried. She said once that is complete, the contractors will start the rebuilding process which will take place in phases. She said they are starting with the emergency room and are hoping to have that up and running first, as soon as possible. Upton could not give a time frame for that opening, but they are hoping for within a few months. Upton said that time frame changes from day to day.
Doctors who work in medical offices as well as at the hospital are rotating through the clinic in Rockport and other locations as their offices near the hospital also were damaged. Upton said they are seeing patients, however those with critical needs are being sent to hospitals in Corpus Christi.
Care Regional Medical Center CEO Sunil Reddy, when he returned after Hurricane Harvey to inspect the damage, was quoted as calling the area a “war zone.” Initially, staff members including nurses, office workers, paramedics and doctors began cleaning up and removing debris.
However, when the hired contractor from Kansas City - Global Response Team – brought in about 50 men for the project, they determined the extent of the damage, pointing out the hospital would have to be gutted and rebuilt.
GRT crews spend about two months of every year responding to hurricanes, and their experience includes working after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
Anything which might have been damaged by water has been thrown away, which includes drywall, ceiling material, and electronic circuit boards.
According to an area report, all the hospital’s medical records are accounted for and safe, and much of the pharmacy was salvaged.
Upton said there is a core group of people working at this time to bring the hospital back on line beginning with the ER. In regard to other of the 300 employees at CRMC, Upton emphasized, “Once we are up and running, our hope is to bring those employees back into the family, because we are a family.”
The administrator noted everyone is struggling, as some people lost their homes, and some of their families have lost their homes. The employees are being encouraged to apply for unemployment, or seek employment elsewhere until the hospital is operational.
“They have to do what they have to do for their families,” Upton said. “We are wishing them well, and hoping everyone comes back when we get back open.”