A rapid response to support members after a tornado

The mission of UnitedHealthcare is to help people live healthier lives and make the health system work better for everyone. Core to that mission are our values of Integrity, Compassion, Relationships, Innovation and Performance.   

On Tuesday, January 24, a tornado in southeast Texas tore through the town of Deer Park, just outside of Houston. Twenty-nine members of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas, who were residents of San Jacinto Manor Skilled Nursing & Rehab, were among those affected when the facility sustained significant damage.

UnitedHealthcare staff, especially STAR+PLUS and MMP Service Coordinators who are assigned to the nursing facility, responded swiftly to bring our value of Compassion to life. They arrived onsite within hours of the storm and immediately began contacting responsible parties to verify the safe evacuation of the residents and plan for transfers to new facilities.

As of January 26, 21 UHC members had been relocated to a new facility, 7 had moved in with a family member and 1 was taken to a hospital due to an unrelated illness. There were no injuries among UHC members and none remained at the shelter.

UnitedHealthcare staff also used the FindHelp tool to help those who had been temporarily placed obtain items that may have been lost during the tornado. Service Coordinators continue to follow up with members and complete their assessments on schedule, or sooner if needed. 

Pulling together amidst the aftermath

Staff outreach to nursing facility-based members included:

  • Verifying safe evacuation of all members to the Deer Park High School immediately following the disaster for safe shelter for the night.
  • Contacting all responsible parties, the same day to notify them of the damage to the facility.
  • Assisting with resident transfers to other facilities.
  • Collaborating to share information as it was received and then remaining onsite to assist with member needs and follow-up. 
  • Using a cover buddy system, so any service coordinators who were diverted to an emergency had a “buddy” to cover other members while the service coordinator worked the emergency. This method ensured the teams stayed on track for timely contacts and assessments.

Every day we have the opportunity to bring our company values to life through the choices we make, the actions we take and the words we say. The rapid response of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas staff is a clear example of their commitment to building trust through collaboration and walking in the shoes of the individuals that they serve. 

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