Medicaid the Public Health System

By: Francis G. Rodríguez Castillo

On Thursday, October 9, 2014 a press conference was held at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez by some health care professionals who discussed health issues currently affecting Puerto Rico.

Panelist included: Catalina Moura Borrero, Rafael Moura Stoll, Marta Martinez Toro and Librada Borrero. All of these panelist are health care professionals in exception for Librada Borrero that actually is retired and it was on the panel as a patient.

The main issue addressed was the public health plan of P.R. The plan that the government is offering to help people with their medical problems is the Medicaid, locally known as “Reforma”. Medicaid is a program the federal government supports the states and territories to pay their medic bills of people.

This panelists expressed actual problems with the public health plan and proposed some solutions to it. Moura Stoll said, “approximately 80 percent of the people in Puerto Rico use the public health system.” It means that most of the federal money sent to P.R. is used on health care for the Puerto Rican citizens. That health care are meant to do improvements to the actual health system and to bring more specialist to the field.

In relation to the segment of the population using the Medicaid, Martínez said, “in Puerto Rico there are many hypochondriac people, if they see someone who is sick they feel the same way and use the public system health plan for any unnecessary pain.”

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The panelist on the health issue press conference: Catalina Moura, Rafael Moura, Marta martínez and Librada Borrero.

She argued that solution to this problem is for the Department of Health in P.R to educate the customers using this health plan and control the visits to the doctor. “The people who truly need it, are not the problem, but those who abuse this privileged must be educated,” said Martínez.

Another problem Puerto Rico faces is that most of the doctors, nurses and health professionals are migrating to the U.S. for better life and a better salaries. “I am nurse whose being offering a job in the United States, and I’m tempted to leave, because here I am in charge of a whole floor with too many patients for me to handle,” said Martínez.

Martínez also recommended, “a better distribution of patients for the nurses and doctors, so they can do their job well and give the right treatment to the patients.”

Doctors also face diffeculties with Medicaid, “When people use the Medicaid plan, doctors aren’t getting paid at the right time, most checks for the services doctors provide are paid late,” Martínez added. According to the panelist most of Puerto Rico health professionals are leaving because the payment that they are getting is not enough for the work they have.

Moura Stoll said, “The product of Puerto Rico is good,” in relation to the good professionals that are made here in the country. Then he added, “let us make a differences for our young doctors to stay.”

Recently to date, there was a case of a doctor in P.R., Dr. Ortiz in the Bayamón Hospital, who insulted the people of abusing the Medicaid plan Moura Stoll said in references to this case, “the Department of Health has the obligation to give the patient the right treatment. It is in the Bill of Rights that every citizen has the right to a health treatment, and that should be respected.” In the doctor’s office it should be a patient-doctor privacy and respect, with these up front the doctor or the health professional can give the patient the best of them at their job.


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