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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Volunteer committee of doctors to address flight of health professionals


The Doctors Volunteer Committee will be composed of general practitioners, specialists and subspecialists, all from different geographical points on the island.

By The Star Staff


In order to receive direct input from doctors to stop the flight of health professionals in Puerto Rico, at-large Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera announced on Wednesday the creation of a volunteer committee of doctors with which she will meet periodically to develop strategies, including legislation, focused on improving physicians’ working conditions.


“For the past few years we have been working to stop the exodus of doctors, who leave Puerto Rico for the states in search of a better quality of life. There are many situations that drive this flight of talent, which due to the demographic reality, we cannot afford,” the New Progressive Party senator said. “That is why, in addition to listening to the doctors’ professional associations, we want to know about doctors directly, without a filter. That’s why we decided to create this committee.”


The Doctors Volunteer Committee will be composed of general practitioners, specialists and subspecialists, all from different geographical points on the island.


“The committee will be composed of 10 doctors, all volunteers, donating their time to reach a series of solutions, real and applicable, that allows us not only to stop this historic outmigration to the states, but also to have a robust number of these health professionals to address the new demographic reality in Puerto Rico,” the lawmaker added.


Riquelme said she is already in talks with numerous doctors to finalize the committee.


“We have spoken with various doctors, including internists and general practitioners, among others, and the response has been very positive,” she said. “We are going to meet in person in the coming days to announce all the members and begin, immediately, the exchange of ideas and concepts. We will then hold regular meetings to fine-tune details and establish solutions. This is everyone’s problem and together we are going to work on it.”


According to data from the Physicians & Surgeons Association of Puerto Rico, the number of doctors currently practicing on the island is under 9,000, the lowest figure in 40 years.


In February, Riquelme filed several measures, including a bill that empowers the Department of Economic Development and Commerce to grant special tax decrees to eligible doctors after Dec. 31, 2020, as well as a resolution to evaluate the feasibility of restoring tax credits under the parameters of Law 14-2017.

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