Friday, May 24, 2024

Puerto Rican Medical Professionals Leaving the Island for the Mainland

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican doctors and nurses are increasingly migrating from the island to the mainland U.S. seeking higher salaries and improved reimbursement from insurers.

According to the island’s Medical Licensing and Studies board, the number of doctors in Puerto Rico has dropped about 13% with the major losses being in primary care physicians and specialists.

“Professionals are being forced to leave,” says Daphne Santa, a speech and language pathologist at the Orlando VA Medical Center and chairwoman of the Puerto Rican Professionals Association. “It’s not that they want to.”

Health experts foresee the situation worsening with President Obama’s health care law, which would call for more doctors to be in the states because of the inflow of patients.

To mediate the issue, legislators have introduced a bill that would have the government pay for medical students to stay and practice in Puerto Rico for the amount of time it took them to complete their residency. If they were to leave before their required time on the island is served, they would have to compensate the government for the cost of their residency.

“We’re being left without specialists,” said Jose Aponte, former President of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives.

The Huffington Post
USA Today