Press Release


MHA coordinates airlift of Bay State nurse volunteers for Harvey response

September 5, 2017

CONTACT: Catherine Bromberg
Twenty-seven Massachusetts nurses and a cath lab tech took off this morning from Hanscom Field as part of a deployment organized by the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) to assist Bay Area Regional Medical Center (BARMC) in Webster, Texas, just outside of Houston as the facility, its employees and staff recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Lynn Nicholas, FACHE, MHA’s President & CEO, received a call from BARMC CEO Stephen Jones, Jr. on Tuesday, August 29th, requesting assistance for the Texas hospital, which was being hammered by Hurricane Harvey. BARMC’s staff members, many of whom had lost their houses to the floodwaters, were also fighting exhaustion to stay on the job and deal with a spike in Emergency Department visits.

MHA immediately sent out a call to its membership, with support from the Organization of Nurse Leaders of MA, RI, NH & CT, and by day’s end Massachusetts nurses began to line up to travel to Houston. More than 100 nurses and lab techs from across the commonwealth ultimately answered the call. A plane chartered by BARMC transported 28 of the nurse and lab tech volunteers from Hanscom Air Field in Massachusetts to Texas.

“As the flood waters from Harvey recede, I think it’s easy for people believe the work in Texas is done. In reality, the most difficult work is just beginning,” said Nicholas. “I’m incredibly proud of our generous and dedicated nurses and techs for stepping up to help when and where it’s needed most. Not only will they provide clinical care, but many plan to volunteer with clean-up in the area. This effort is one of the most heart-warming things I’ve been engaged in during my entire career.”

“Nursing is a profession that calls people who are filled with compassion and dedication to duty,” said Amanda Oberlies, CEO of ONL. “Today we saw the best of that spirit displayed in the diverse group of Massachusetts RNs who heard a call for help and instinctively answered it without hesitation. That is why the care in Massachusetts is some of the best in the nation.”

In addition to organizing the caregiver deployment, MHA will also make a contribution to the Texas Hospital Association Hospital Employee Assistance Fund, to assist other healthcare workers affected by the hurricane.


(Photo: MHA President & CEO Lynn Nicholas, FACHE (front row, far left with hat), ONL CEO Amanda Oberlies (front row, far right), and 28 nurse and cath lab tech volunteers from across Massachusetts in front of the charter plane that flew the caregivers to Webster, Texas to assist Bay Area Regional Medical Center (BARMC) following Hurricane Harvey.) Photo credit - Kwame Oucho, MHA