Early in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a team from Pharmacy Alternatives (PAL) was already on the way from Louisville, Kentucky, to hard-hit Houston and Beaumont, Texas, determined to ensure individuals supported by ResCare and other PAL customers would have access to needed medications.
“That’s our mission – to make sure those individuals are taken care of,” said John Brian, national logistics coordinator for PAL.
John and PAL Integration Coordinator Teresa Clifton, along with President of Pharmacy Solutions and Integrated Care Doug Russell, traveled to Texas and teamed up with PAL staff in Austin. They set up a “war room” to coordinate efforts to get medications to 826 individuals served by ResCare operations and non-ResCare customers in affected areas.
“You really need to have a passion for this job,” John said. “We made it happen by asking, ‘What can we do to make sure no one is missing medicines?’ They just can’t miss medications.”
The entire PAL Texas team in Austin worked tirelessly along with Teresa to ensure delivery of medications. The team hired couriers to take medications to individuals supported by ResCare and other PAL customers in areas where the post-hurricane flooding did not close roads.
In other areas, Doug and John had to make special deliveries by SUV – navigating around flooded roads and highways. When they headed to Beaumont, Texas, east of Houston, there was only one way in. John and Doug used a variety of navigation apps to make their way through the many closed routes.
“Sometimes it was crazy,” John said.
They had to get through: Not only did the PAL individuals served by ResCare and other PAL customers need medications, but the town was also without water. The PAL team delivered cases of bottled water along with the medications.
“We had to take the medicine and water to Beaumont,” John said. “That was the only way to get it in.”
They also had an individual who needed a lifesaving dose of insulin, and all of the supplies in the hospitals and pharmacies in the immediate area were depleted. The dose was due at 5 p.m., and John and Doug pulled into a restaurant parking lot surrounded by floodwaters at 4:50 p.m.
“Handing that vial of insulin to that concerned mother and seeing her expression made our 16-hour trip worth every second,” Doug said.
Preparedness was the key when Hurricane Irma struck a short time later in Florida. John’s proactive approach with email alerts to PAL customers when threatening weather and impending disasters are headed our way allowed our ResCare operations in Florida and Georgia to order medications before Hurricane Irma hit.