50% of doctors have left Puerto Rico since ’09
The Puerto Rico Health Department announced that 8,662 doctors have left the island in search of better opportunities and living conditions in a period of 13 years during the celebration of the IV Health Congress, hosted by the United Retailers Association (CUD in Spanish).
“At present, there are 9,492 doctors in Puerto Rico from the 18,754 there were in 2009,” said Felix Rodríguez-Schmidt, undersecretary of the Puerto Rico Health Department.
“Given this scenario, we’re trying to get the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico to see the situation we currently find ourselves in and authorize an additional 4% of tax incentives for medical class,” said Rodríguez-Schmidt.
“In addition, we plan to inaugurate new local residencies in July 2023 to develop new specialists in primary medicine and hope to ensure that these specialists stay after they graduate in Puerto Rico,” said Rodríguez.
“Another of the incentives that we are evaluating is to pay off student loan debts held by specialists who are outside of Puerto Rico,” added Rodríguez-Schmidt.
The health official spoke before more than 125 health professionals at the CUD health congress, which featured 12 talks related to medical issues offered by industry executives including as Roberto Pando, from MCS; Pablo Rodríguez, President of the Trauma Assistance Center Foundation; Marielba Agosto-Mujíca, endocrinologist; and Jaime Plá, President of the Puerto Rico Hospital Association, among others.
“We’re living through crucial moments and as an island we cannot afford to lose our professionals,” said CUD President Jesús Vázquez-Rivera.
“From the CUD we want to draw attention to the importance of retaining and strengthening the medical class and that’s why events like this seek to promote the necessary spaces for both the public and private sectors to take action in this regard,” he said.