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Direct Relief awards $1M+ in cash to island community health centers to fight COVID-19

Nonprofit Direct Relief this week awarded a total of $900,000 in cash grants to 18 federally qualified health centers in Puerto Rico, each of which, as is the case with Health Pro Med, received the amount of $50,000.

In the past two months, Direct Relief has also awarded another $150,000 in cash to 15 health centers to administer COVID-19 testing and treatment in nursing homes in their communities.

The financial aid awarded in Puerto Rico is part of the COVID-19 Community Health Fund, through which Direct Relief has already awarded $27.9 million in grants to 519 nonprofit community health centers in the United States. These health centers are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, serving people and places that are disproportionately affected and at risk, the nonprofit confirmed.

“This financial support is primarily intended to provide safety and security to health workers as they strive to maintain essential health services, while performing critical public health functions in the COVID-19 response within their communities,” said Ivonne Rodríguez-Wiewall, executive advisor in Puerto Rico of Direct Relief.

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, the $27.9 million grants represent the largest private donation received by Federally Qualified Health Centers in the past 55 years, since the first community health centers were established in 1965.

“Health Pro Med has stood out as a first responder in times of emergencies and disasters, and that has been largely possible for Direct Relief and its team,” said Ivonne I. Rivera, executive director of Health Pro Med, one of the Centers benefited by the donation.

“They know what it is to help, support and work hand in hand with us, so that the health and stability of our communities is under control,” she said. “Direct Relief supports us so that we can plan and respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations. Everyone would like a partner like them, they always come first in the most difficult moments.”

The $1 million in grant funding is in addition to other contributions that Direct Relief has made to fight COVID-19 including purchasing essential medical equipment, molecular tests for the virus, and tents to administer tests to first responders, among others.

The health centers that received funding are: Camuy Health Services Inc.; Centro de Salud de Lares Inc.; Centro de Servicios Primarios de Salud in the town of Florida; Centro de Servicios Primarios de Salud Inc. in Patillas; Community Health Foundation of PR Inc. in Bayamón; Concilio de Salud Integral de Loíza; Corporación de Salud Asegurada por Nuestra Organización Solidaria, Inc. (S.A.N.O.S.) in Caguas; Corporación de Servicios Médicos Primario y Prevención de Hatillo Inc.; COSSMA in Cidra; Costa Salud Community Health Centers Inc. in Rincón; Hospital General de Castañer Inc.; Health Pro Med in San Juan; Med Centro Inc. in Ponce; Migrant Health Center Western Region Inc. in Mayagüez; Morovis Community Health Center Inc. in Morovis; NeoMed Center Inc. in Gurabo; Prymed Medical Care in Ciales; and Salud Integral en la Montana Inc. in Naranjito.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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