HHSC Reminds Regulated Providers to Update Emergency Preparedness Plans

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

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is urging health care facilities, child care operators and other providers to update their emergency response plans as the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts a range of eight to 13 hurricanes in the Atlantic basin this season. Of those, four to seven are expected to be major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher. An average Atlantic hurricane season has three major hurricanes.

“Experience has shown us that Texas weather can be dangerous and sometimes deadly,” said Stephen Pahl, deputy executive commissioner for the HHSC Regulatory Services Division. “Planning is paramount when it comes to severe weather, especially with vulnerable clients. That’s why it’s so important to have a current emergency preparedness plan that staff can implement quickly and effectively.”

HHSC requires long-term care providers such as nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospices and state-regulated group homes to regularly prepare for natural disasters, including hurricanes and flooding. HHSC also requires acute health care facilities such as hospitals, dialysis centers and child care operations to maintain an updated plan and ensure staff are fully trained to implement it during a crisis.

A complete emergency preparedness and response plan includes up-to-date information about:

  • Evacuation destinations
  • Transportation arrangements
  • Staff responsibilities
  • Continuation of care and treatments for individuals
  • Communication procedures

HHSC issues guidance to providers about updating their plans and encourages them to visit the DSHS Texas Ready website for hurricane preparedness resources, including sample plans, supply checklists and more information on preparing for hurricanes and other emergencies.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which affects the Texas Gulf Coast, continues through Nov. 30.

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