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FEMA grants more than $39M to repair medical facilities in Puerto Rico

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded over $37.6 million to repair the Ryder Memorial Hospital in Humacao, one of the largest medical facilities in eastern Puerto Rico, and more than $1.8 million for its Critical Healthcare Services Center (CDT, in Spanish) in San Lorenzo.

Federal funding will facilitate infrastructure restoration and content replacement at Ryder Memorial’s medical complex in Humacao, as well as complete rebuilding of its senior living facility, which was nearly devastated by Hurricane Maria. 

To date, FEMA has awarded more than $42 million for permanent work projects at Ryder Memorial Hospital and affiliated corporations, and nearly $6.4 million for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Maria.

Funds are also earmarked for permanent work at the CDT in San Lorenzo, one of the few primary care facilities available to the more than 37,000 residents of the municipality.

“This award significantly changes how the municipality of Humacao serves its most vulnerable population; the elderly, people who need prolonged nursing care and those who are sick and require immediate medical attention,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José Baquero. “Also, to lessen the impact of future disasters, obligations include nearly $13.4 million for mitigation measures to ensure continuity of services.”

Carmen Colón, executive director of Ryder Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Corporations, said the repairs “will guarantee better patient care because we can get more accurate diagnoses in less time, allowing for faster and more effective decision-making in the required treatment.”

Established in 1914, Ryder Memorial Hospital serves more than 6,000 patients per month and employs approximately 500 individuals. Proposed repairs include work on interior and exterior infrastructure and replacement of safety and climate control equipment, including fire alarms, smoke detectors, air conditioning and condensing units, water tanks, and repairs to the hospital’s electrical infrastructure.

FEMA funding will also be used to replace damaged medical equipment at the hospital, ranging from stretchers, surgical tables, computers and medical carts to high-tech devices like MRI machines, X-rays and infant protection machines.

The Ryder Memorial nursing home, established in 1995 as a long-term care facility for the elderly and Alzheimer’s patients, will be reconstructed using current health care facility standards and codes. 

Colón said the evaluation process for the new facility will begin with construction and design proposals and the consideration of adding new services.

Manuel Laboy, executive director of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), stated: “Ryder Memorial Hospital has already begun developing some of the permanent works that give resilience to its facilities. Meanwhile, other works are in the planning stage, as well as the reconstruction of the San Lorenzo CDT, which is led by the Health Department. I urge everyone to apply for the funding available through the Working Capital Advance pilot program, so their projects can continue to advance.”

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