Island hospitals to receive $40 million as incentive for frontline health professionals

By The Star Staff

Some $40 million has been earmarked for assistance programs for public and private hospitals on the island under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced and Omar Marrero, executive director of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF by its Spanish initials), announced Monday.

Vázquez said the authorized allocation is for hospital institutions to implement an incentive payment program for assumed risks or “hazard pay” to health professionals, who continue to be exposed to the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

“We continue to do justice to our healthcare professionals. Once again, we recognize their sacrifice, as they are the ones who fight COVID-19 every day,” Vázquez said in a written communication. “With these allocations, the Private Hospitals Assistance Program has received $315 million through the CARES Act and public hospitals $75 million.”

Marrero Díaz noted that hospitals are responsible for implementing incentive programs for assumed risks and for determining which employees will be part of the program. However, those employees have to be first responders who perform functions that expose them to risk of infection from COVID-19.

The head of AAFAF said $15 million will be allocated to the Private Hospitals Assistance Program and an additional $25 million to the Public Hospitals Assistance Program.

“Our administration has made it its mission to provide the necessary tools to our hospitals and other economic sectors that fight daily against the pandemic,” Marrero Díaz said. “This management has been reflected in the operations of all the hospitals in Puerto Rico that have maintained uninterrupted service of excellence.”

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