By Jeff Todd
(CBS4) – One of the largest companies headquartered in Denver has been working around the clock during Hurricane Harvey to keep the doors to its dialysis clinics open so patients can stay alive.
“We sent a lot of resources, generators, medication, so we could surround the city because no one knew what would flood and what wouldn’t, so we were prepared as one could get for the situation,” said DaVita Kidney Care CEO Javier Rodriguez.
Last week, DaVita began setting up a command center in Houston so it could properly address any issues as they arose. DaVita has 7,500 patients at 150 facilities in the path of the storm.
“Out of those clinics, only about one-third were able to operate yesterday (Tuesday), and we worked day and night and we were able to open about half of those centers today,” Rodriguez said.
DaVita has been using boats and anything else officials can in order to get patients the care they need. Dialysis patients, on average, get treatment every three days. Missing two sessions can become life threatening for patients.
But it’s not only patients who have been effected by the rain and flooding, employees are impacted as well but still showing up to work.
“We know about 121 of our teammates homes are flooded and of course many more are evacuated,” Rodriguez said about DaVita teammates.
“Remember, these caregivers, these professionals, their homes are flooded too, their families have been displaced too, and they have to go out and take care of our patients because that’s what in their heart. I’m at a loss of words when I hear stories of how amazing they are.”
Other teammates from around the country are headed to the Houston area to help with the clinics that are flooded, or help staff at the clinics that are open. The company is even sending remote pharmacies and technicians so patients can get medication.
Between the Denver headquarters and the command center in Houston Rodriguez says some issues have been planned for but other critical decisions are still being made “on the fly.”
“We don’t know how the flooding will continue,” Rodriguez said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.