Medical Support for Puerto Rico

The healthcare infrastructure on Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria. To address these needs, HHS www.hhs.gov coordinated with DOD www.defense.gov to transport medical personnel and needed medical supplies to the island.

Today, there are more than 600 HHS medical personnel on the island to help those affected by the hurricane. HHS is operating in coordination with the Puerto Rico Department of Health. Medical personnel to provide supplies and patient care to support hospitals in each of the regions on the island.

The U.S Navy’s hospital ship “USNS Comfort” www.comfort.navy.mil is traveling around the island to help people in need, since the ship has facilities on board that allow for resuscitation and stabilization care, initial wound and basic surgery, and postoperative treatment.

After receiving care at hospitals, some patients may still require help with ongoing healthcare needs. HHS is in the process of setting up four Federal Medical Stations, each capable of housing up to 250 patients at a time to give these patients a place to stay while continuing to receive the care they need.

HHS was also working with the VA www.va.gov  before the hurricane hit the island to ensure that patients suffering from end-stage renal disease who depend upon regular dialysis treatment would be transported to more stable environments before the storm hit so they could receive care.

At the same time, HHS worked with the Puerto Rico Department of Health to prioritize resources needed for dialysis facilities on the island and worked with FEMA to help ensure that critical supplies were delivered.

The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response https://www.phe.gov/emergency within HHS, has activated the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program https://www.phe.gov/EPAP  with more than 750 pharmacies on the island participating in the program.

This program provides 30 day supplies of certain medications free-of-charge through participating pharmacies where residents of Puerto Rico displaced by the hurricane can access the program through their local pharmacies.

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