The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport is set to become the first facility of its kind to have a full-service primary care clinic on its premises, with the planned development of Primary Care Center of the USA.
In an exclusive interview, company President Nicholas Bancone said some $3 million will be invested in opening the 10,000 square-foot facility at LMM’s Terminal D, sometime during the first quarter of 2011.
The clinic will create 150 new jobs, mostly in health care.
Bancone, a 30-year health care industry veteran, said there is a pressing need to have outpatient facilities at airports, especially due to recent outbreaks of illnesses such as the H1N1 virus worldwide and cholera in Haiti.
“For example, if a passenger falls ill on a flight and it happens to be any one of these illnesses, it could be contained at the clinic and somewhat prevent the spread beyond the airport,” he said.
According to the latest statistics available from the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, during fiscal year 2009, some 8 million passengers arrived and departed from LMM on flights offered by 27 airline companies serving the facility.
The idea behind having a full-service clinic at the airport also responds to the company’s desire to provide on-site care to airline employees and Ports Authority workers, some of which have already been approached and have responded favorably to the concept.
Furthermore, Bancone said the Primary Care Center of the USA would be open to the general public, who would be able to get treatment at the clinic and decide from there if their condition merits hospitalization, at a nearby hospital. The LMM’s clinic will only care for patients during a 24-hour period, after which they are referred for further treatment, Bancone said.
This is the first Primary Care Center of the USA location, but Bancone said, he has been in talks with Health Department officials and municipal authorities about the possibility of inking a deal to integrate several Diagnostic and Treatment Centers into a greater network.