UTMB Garners $90 Million FEMA Grant

Three and a half years after Hurricane Ike — FEMA is awarding more than $90 million to UTMB Medical Center for its recovery.

The Level One trauma center on Galveston Island suffered $1 billion in losses after Hurricane Ike, primarily from flooding.

Bill Elger is the hospital's executive vice president and chief business and financial officer.

He says the $90.1 million grant is a critical part of the hospital's recovery.

"What this will do is allow us to replace the critical functions on the first floor of the hospital by putting them in a wing attached to the hospital, out of harm's way. We've been working with FEMA on this particular concept for over two years now."

The critical functions are things like food services, the pharmacy, the blood bank, sterile processing — all things that are necessary to keep a hospital running.

"They're clearing the site right now so we can start construction on it. It's critical for us to get this done and it'll take us about two years to construct that facility, so that we can protect those critical functions so in the event of another storm, we can reopen the hospital quickly right after an event."

Elger says about a million square feet of the hospital were damaged and they've repaired about 70 percent so far. The total cost of the new wing and mitigation project is $100 million. Money from insurance settlements will pay for the difference.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...