HHS Secretary Taking Health, Social Services Resources to Evacuee Locations Throughout Gulf Region

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is taking a team of healthcare, public health, and social service leaders to Louisiana and the Gulf region today as part of ongoing efforts to extend care and services to where evacuees of Hurricane Katrina are located.

Leavitt said the team would build upon existing state, local and federal efforts to provide for the immediate health care needs of evacuees by extending services for ongoing medical, mental health and social services needs as well as public health and disease prevention. HHS healthcare experts and medicines were pre-deployed to the region before the hurricane and subsequently delivered immediately following to augment the needs of FEMA and state and local health agencies.

Leavitt will be accompanied by the following HHS leaders: Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Richard Carmona, Surgeon General; Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families; Charles Curie, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Dr. Mark McClellan, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Dr. Garth Graham, Director of Office of Minority Health. In addition to the HHS leadership team, the Secretary will be joined by Dr. William Winkenwerder, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; General Joe Kelly of the Department of Defense; and Joe Becker of the American Red Cross.

Weve spent this important first week providing for the immediate healthcare needs of hurricane victims and the public health needs of the Gulf region, which will remain ongoing efforts. Now, we want to make sure the full reach of the federal governments health and human services are being extended to every area where evacuees are being located, Leavitt said. We have a great deal of work to do to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina get back on their feet and begin recovering from this tragedy. Were going to be where they are in order to help them every step of this journey.

Over the next several days, Leavitt and his team will be going to evacuee locations throughout the Gulf Coast region, including Louisiana and Texas. At evacuee locations, the secretary will make sure HHS resources are stood up or expanded where necessary to meet the ongoing needs of hurricane victims.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services