top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

FEMA funds reconstruction of health facilities in San Lorenzo

The Corporation for Health Services and Advanced Medicine in San Lorenzo (FEMA/Eduardo Martínez Rivera)

By The Star Staff

Residents of the town of San Lorenzo and its neighboring communities can now rely on the services provided by the Corporation for Health Services and Advanced Medicine (COSSMA by its Spanish initials), following the reconstruction of its facilities with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

An award of about $6 million supported the demolition and reconstruction of the building, which already provides primary health services to around 3,000 people per month. The former structure was flooded due to the storm, which destroyed it and made it impossible to receive employees and care for their patients.

“The COSSMA team is part of the first responders who cared for Hurricane Maria survivors in the immediate aftermath of the disaster,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José Baquero. “This completed project demonstrates how we can rebuild facilities to strengthen them for other disasters so that medical personnel do not face similar challenges in the future when serving communities.”

COSSMA San Lorenzo has about 50 employees and offers medical services for adults, pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics; mental health, oral health, vaccination, laboratory and pharmacy; and other support services such as HIV prevention, case management of chronic conditions, nutrition and health promotion.

The outpatient center began its services in San Lorenzo in the early 2000s. By 2017, the administration had just begun their expansion process when Hurricane Maria hit.

COSSMA San Lorenzo’s clinic director, Soquiliz Rivera, noted that the facilities were destroyed after the storm. However, the clinic staff continued to offer services to the community in temporary facilities such as tents, trailers and rented clinics.

“We learned that the structure was an important aspect, but it was not everything,” Rivera said. “The essence of each employee, of being able to serve, always remained, even if it was in a different way. [The experience] united colleagues who, regardless of the fact that the clinic was not in the same condition as before, were willing to serve.”

To date, FEMA has awarded over $30.8 billion for nearly 10,800 Public Assistance projects to address the reconstruction of a more resilient Puerto Rico.

87 views0 comments


bottom of page