HHSC Reminds Regulated Providers to Update Emergency Preparedness Plans Before Hurricane Season

News Release
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Jennifer Ruffcorn, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is urging health care facilities, long-term care facilities, and child care operations to make sure their emergency preparedness plans are updated ahead of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1.

“Texas weather can be very unpredictable,” said Stephen Pahl, deputy executive commissioner for HHSC’s Regulatory Services Division. “With hurricane season upon us, we are reminding providers to ensure their emergency preparedness plans are current and that staff know how to fully execute those plans if or when a storm should strike.”

HHSC requires long-term care providers, such as nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospices, intermediate care facilities and Home and Community-based Services group homes, to regularly prepare for natural disasters, including hurricanes and flooding. HHSC also requires hospitals, dialysis centers, and state-regulated child care operations to maintain an updated emergency plan and ensure staff are fully trained on how to execute it.

A complete emergency preparedness and response plan includes up-to-date information about evacuation destinations, transportation plans, responsibilities of staff members, continuation of care and treatments for residents, and communication procedures. HHSC issues guidance to providers about updating their plans and encourages facilities to visit the DSHS Texas Ready website for hurricane preparedness resources, including sample plans, disaster supply checklists, and more information on preparing for hurricanes and other emergencies.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which affects the Gulf Coast of Texas, runs from June 1 until Nov. 30.

About Texas HHS Disaster Services
In the event of an emergency, Texas HHS Disaster Services provides public health and medical support, shelters for people with medical needs, disaster food assistance, counseling services, water and ice. The program also provides regulatory support for health care facilities, long-term care facilities, child care operations and special waivers for Medicaid providers and clients as needed.