Kentucky health system launches flood relief effort for employees; some still missing

Appalachian Regional Healthcare, a 14-hospital system serving eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, has launched a relief effort to help its workers and surrounding communities in the wake of recent flooding in the area, news station WKYT reported July 30.

Health system spokesperson Melissa Cornett told Becker's July 30 that damages were still being assessed since some people weren't yet able to get to their homes to determine the severity. As of Aug. 1, Appalachian Regional had:

  • 80 employees with total losses       
  • 51 with significant damages
  • 11 still unaccounted for from Hazard (Ky.) ARH Regional Medical Center

Appalachian Regional has a total of 6,500 employees.

To help affected employees and affected eastern Kentucky communities, Appalachian Regional established the ARH Foundation Flood Relief Fund.

Ms. Cornett said this allows people to make a tax-deductible monetary donation to the ARH Foundation or purchase an "I Love Appalachia" T-shirt supporting relief efforts at www.arh.org.

She also said the health system has purchased supplies and "have had a tremendous response from across the state with offers of supplies."

Additionally, she said the health system has based an incident command center out of corporate headquarters in Lexington, Ky., which since July 28 has served as a drop-off location for items "that have been identified as the most immediate supplies that our residents and those working tirelessly to help them are in desperate need of at the moment." This includes water, generators, fans, shelf-stable food, baby items, pet food, and supplies, can openers, disposable plates, utensils, cleaning supplies, gloves, and rubber boots, among other items.

Ms. Cornett also said several Appalachian Regional locations not directly affected by the flooding are having supply drives as well with items being transported to Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center, Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg, Ky., and Whitesburg (Ky.) ARH Hospital to be distributed to employees and community members in need. Distribution of items began June 29.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency July 28 due to severe flooding in eastern Kentucky. The governor said July 31 that at least 28 people had died from the floods.

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