Working Together: Heart to Heart International’s Post-Hurricane Michael Response

Partnering with Amgen and Point Washington Medical Center, Opens “Clinic in a Can”

When Hurricane Michael tore through the panhandle of Florida on October 10, 2018, communities were left reeling. Homes were destroyed, and pharmacies and health care facilities were severely damaged. One of the areas hit the hardest by the storm was Panama City, Florida. Many primary care providers closed their offices due to damages sustained during the hurricane, and the main hospital in Panama City permanently reduced its capacity.

Heart to Heart International (HHI) responded immediately after the storm with medical teams, a mobile medical unit and medical supplies and medications. And to support the recovery effort after the initial disaster response, HHI partnered with Amgen Foundation and Point Washington Medical Clinic. Together, HHI and Amgen Foundation installed and fully stocked a “Clinic in a Can” in Panama City. Providers from Point Washington served as the health care providers for the facility. An entirely volunteer-run organization, Point Washington stretched its pool of volunteer medical providers to support this site in addition to its established free clinic in Santa Rosa, Florida.

In addition to medication refills and other chronic conditions, providers treated many upper respiratory problems caused by people sleeping outside in the cold because their homes had been destroyed. Since the clinic’s first day of treatment on November 5, 2018, providers treated 681 patients at the facility. The clinic closed at the end of February 2019 as most of the impacted health care facilities in Panama City had reopened. 20 percent of Point Washington’s previous patient base was impacted by Hurricane Michael, so the clinic will continue to support recovery efforts at its Santa Rosa site.