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FEMA awards $14M to Mennonite Health System for hospital repairs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded approximately $14 million to Mennonite General Hospital for repairs to its facilities in the Puerto Rican municipalities of Aguas Buenas, Cayey, Cidra and Guayama, which are part of a larger $20 million allocation for permanent work to address damages caused by Hurricane María.

“Hospitals are part of the essential services needed by communities before, during and after a disaster. The repairs will restore the infrastructure to its pre-hurricane condition, while addressing humidity problems and implementing mitigation measures to strengthen these buildings,” said José G. Baquero, FEMA’s disaster recovery coordinator for Puerto Rico.

The nonprofit hospital system, which was established in 1944 in Aibonito, today has a network with nearly 700 physicians and about 70 volunteers who offer a variety of health services across its hospitals on the island.

The funding for the four hospitals will address mold remediation, replacement of acoustic ceilings, grids, doors, and insulation of ductwork and pipes. More than $1 million is allocated for mitigation measures to improve resilience against wind damage and prevent rain infiltration, according to FEMA.

“It is a priority to ensure that our care environment is proper, secure and efficient for addressing health needs that may arise,” stated Ricardo Hernández, executive director of the Mennonite Health System, adding that the health network provides first response services in emergencies and disasters.

“The continuation of services is crucial, particularly in the mountainous regions where our facilities are situated, and where we handle more than 300,000 visits annually,” he said.

Hernández also noted the importance of the funding “so that our facilities always remain in compliance with the regulatory and quality standards that characterize us.”

Manuel A. Laboy-Rivera, executive director of Puerto Rico’s Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), said one of the projects being developed at Centro Médico in Cayey involves acquiring and installing a combined heat and power system to provide backup electricity, as well as a water treatment and storage facility.

“At COR3, we’re working closely with hospital institutions to provide them with systems that increase their resilience in the event of any emergency or disaster. We also recently announced other projects for the development of power generation and water storage systems,” Laboy-Rivera added.

“This way, we’re providing service redundancy for patients, the sector that needs our immediate attention in the event of a disaster,” he concluded.

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

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