The Puerto Rico IPAS Association, which represents 1,850 primary physicians serving more than one million patients, demanded that they be paid for the money invested in treating Covid-19 patients since the emergency began in March.
“The point has arrived where we have exhausted all resources. Those who first tested the population and from day one have been treating patients free of charge, are the primary doctors and the IPAS, who have been the first line of services. This is a valid claim, because the IPAS Association has not been paid a penny of the money invested, and it was a commitment made by Governor Wanda Vázquez, ”stated Dr. Jorge Hess, president of the association.
In recent days it has emerged that the government has not disbursed most of the federal money destined to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Only 37% of the $ 2.24 billion allocated through the federal Cares law to combat the effects of the pandemic on the island has been used or transferred to entities, according to the Financial Advisory Authority and Fiscal Agency (Aafaf).
The situation implies that no money has been given for programs that help the homeless, those that provide technology to the public education system, to protect the payroll of private companies, to expand telemedicine and to train small and medium-sized companies. to defend itself from the virus that has already claimed the lives of more than 400 people on the Island.
In the case of the IPAS Association, the governor promised to disburse the funds used.
Since last March the Association of IPAS began providing services to address the emergency. A program was made to carry out rapid tests to identify patients affected by the Covid-19 epidemic throughout Puerto Rico. For this, tents were also established in 27 towns and over 20,000 free tests were administered to thousands of people.
In addition, a Clinical Protocol for patient management was implemented in medical offices and IPAS centers; An Orientation Program was carried out through the online portal www.tuipapr.com and the Patient Orientation Line 787-300-4241 was established.
"In addition to caring for patients, the The IPAS Association also supplied all the personnel in its IPAS around the country with surgical visors, masks, gloves, disposable gowns and boot covers ”, explained Dr. Hess.
To date, the medical groups that the Association represents IPAS have invested over $ 654,000 of their own funds to tackle and combat the crisis represented by this pandemic. "We will continue to serve our patients, as we have always done in this or any other emergency that arises because our commitment is to patients," added Hess.
The IPAS Association member physicians provide services to more than one million patients throughout Puerto Rico, of which nearly 700,000 are insured with the Vital health plan and over 300,000 beneficiaries of Medicare Advantage, in addition to private patients, and the uninsured.