Agencies Prepare Home Health Patients for Blackouts
While most California hospitals are exempt from the state-ordered power blackouts, those living at home with the assistance of electrical medical equipment may be in "jeopard[y]," the AP/Ventura County Star reports. In response to the state's power crisis, social service agencies are "scrambling" to prepare people whose health depends upon electrical devices. Agencies such as the Watts Health Foundation in Los Angeles are ensuring the elderly have flashlights so they can "take [their] medication properly." Dr. Guy Soohoo, director of the West Los Angeles VA Health Center's medical intensive care unit, said he believes that most patients using electric oxygen concentrators often have backup supplies of the gas and backup systems in place. Andrea Van Hook, a spokesperson for the American Lung Association, said people should go to an emergency room if they "encounter unexpected problems." According to the California Public Utilities Commission, hospitals with more than 100 beds and public health and safety agencies are automatically exempt from blackouts. In addition, facilities that provide long term care are required to have backup generators in place that "kick in immediately" in case of a blackout (Pollock, AP/Ventura County Star, 1/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.