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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

FEMA approves $21 million to renew, fortify San Juan CDTs

By John McPhaul

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved an obligation of over $21 million to repair six Diagnostic and Treatment Centers (CDTs by the Spanish initials) in San Juan, the federal agency announced Sunday.

In addition to repairing the buildings, the funds include hazard mitigation measures to better prepare the CDTs to face future disasters.

CDTs have emergency rooms, provide primary care and pediatric services along with obstetrics and gynecology services, as well as preventive services such as radiology, laboratories and vaccinations. Likewise, they provide specialized services to homeless people, and some offer mental health services at specific times.

“The health sector in San Juan will be transformed with this unprecedented allocation,” stated José G. Baquero, FEMA’s federal disaster recovery coordinator in Puerto Rico. ‘And to help prevent another storm from causing similar damage, the federal share includes nearly $1.7 million for work that will strengthen the roofs and protect electrical equipment.”

The health centers that will benefit from the funding obligation are the José S. Belaval CDT, Más Salud Dr. Gualberto Rabell Center, Dr. José López Antongiorgi CDT, Dr. Olivera Guerra CDT, Dr. Enrique Koppisch CDT and Dr. Manuel Quevedo Báez CDT. To date, FEMA has obligated more than $168 million to the Municipality of San Juan for emergency and permanent work.

“Today is a great day for the residents of San Juan and for public health in Puerto Rico,” San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo said. “The obligation will allow us to update important centers that provide comprehensive and accessible care to the individuals and families of the Capital City, whether residents, neighbors or visitors, regardless of their financial situation or migratory status. [They] offer direct services that are essential to accomplishing the quality of life that we aim for in our town. This will also allow us to improve the work areas of our talented and committed medical faculty, as well as administrative staff, who are essential to the continued improvement of [medical] services in our town.”

For the Más Salud Dr. Gualberto Rabell Center in Santurce, which specializes in mental health services, over $10.4 million have been earmarked to replace doors, acoustic panels, air conditioning units and a condenser, among other purposes. Those renovations have already been completed and lighting work, the installation of a new roof surface, waterproofing of windows and improvements to the drain systems to prevent leaks are pending.

Moreover, at the Dr. Enrique Koppisch CDT in Río Piedras, some works have been completed such as the repair of the emergency generator and the removal and replacement of the air conduits, acoustic panels and lighting. Within the share of $2.8 million approved for that facility, over $460,000 targets hazard mitigation measures such as storm-proofing the roof.

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