Michael Griffin: Katrina's Lasting Effects on New Orleans and Its Healthcare System
Nearly 12 years after Hurricane Katrina caused devastating damage and flooding in New Orleans, the city has still not completely recovered, although there is now a stronger infrastructure for primary care, according to Michael Griffin, president and CEO of Daughters of Charity Services.
Transcript (slightly modified) What have been the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans area and how has the healthcare delivery system in the area evolved as a result of the disaster?
The impact of Hurricane Katrina still plagues the New Orleans, Southern Louisiana area today. We still have areas that have not totally redeveloped. Large portions of the population still have not returned. We have probably about 100,000 individuals that were there before Katrina that relocated and did not return.
We still have areas that have not redeveloped as far as businesses go. Sections like the Ninth Ward in New Orleans East, those areas don’t have access to grocery stores and shopping centers and businesses that are just everyday businesses that individuals utilize for quality of life.
I would say from a healthcare perspective, the city has recovered, and mainly because of the federal help and the state help that came in right after Katrina. It funded what was called the primary care access stabilization, it was a grant, and those funds actually helped to build a primary care infrastructure. So we have over 50 clinics and primary care facilities across the New Orleans region that’s taking care of the patient population in a less costly way: primary care and prevention.