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Louisiana Hospital Workers Struggle with Flood Recovery

By John Commins  
   August 24, 2016

Louisiana Hospital Association President and CEO Paul Salles says hospital services could face months of disruption as thousands of stressed-out employees struggle to put their lives back together.

The waters are receding in flood-stricken Louisiana, but for many residents there the nightmare has just begun.

By some estimates, more than 60,000 homes have been damaged, prompting hundreds of thousands of residents to find temporary housing with family, friends, or at shelters.

So far, at least 106,000 people have registered for federal disaster aid, including many who work at hospitals in the afflicted areas. Louisiana Hospital Association President and CEO Paul Salles spoke with HealthLeaders Media about the recovery efforts. The following is an edited transcript.

HLM: How many hospitals were damaged in the flooding?

Salles: The damage to hospitals, from a property perspective, was fairly minimal. The impact to the hospitals primarily is to their staff. We're hearing that more than 5,000 hospital employees have been impacted.

The floods really impacted about 20 parishes in south Louisiana and we are receiving estimates from hospitals now that as many as 25% to 30% of their employees, and some even more than that, have been impacted severely with flooding in their homes.

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.

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