USA: Response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita - May 2006 update

Direct Relief International announced two cash grants totaling $159,000 to support frontline health services in hurricane-affected areas of the Gulf Coast.
These grants are the organization's most recent infusion of assistance. Since Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005, Direct Relief has responded by providing $26.5 million (wholesale) of medical material aid and over $3.9 million in targeted cash grants to clinics, hospitals, and associations.

Direct Relief International awarded a cash grant award of $150,000 to support three rural hospitals in Northeast Louisiana that have provided extensive services to residents following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Building Healthy Communities (BHC), a non-profit network of 46 rural hospitals in Louisiana that works to improve the healthcare infrastructure of member hospitals, will oversee the distribution of $50,000 to three member hospitals.

Franklin Medical, Richland Parish, and West Carroll Hospitals, along with their associated clinics will invest Direct Relief funds in the implementation of a Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS). This system will allow the hospitals to electronically store and immediately access all information collected within radiology (CAT Scan, ultrasound, scanned documents, digitized film, etc.) At the touch of a button, physicians may access and view critical information anywhere in the hospital at anytime. This service will allow for improved care to all of the hospitals' patients.

National Association of Free Clinics

Direct Relief also awarded $9,000 to the National Association of Free Clinics in May to support hurricane-affected clinics at their first annual National Summit in Chicago, Illinois. The National Summit brought together over 250 clinical and pharmacy personnel, medical directors, and management level staff from community clinics across the United States to network and share experiences. Direct Relief's grant was distributed to nine hurricane-affected clinics to help offset travel, lodging, and registration costs. In total, Direct Relief has awarded NAFC $309,000 in cash grant assistance to ensure that Free Clinics throughout the Gulf Coast continue to receive support after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The organization has absorbed all administrative costs associated with its hurricane response efforts as part of its policy to dedicate 100% of all contributions for the hurricanes only to hurricane relief and recovery efforts.