The High Price of Practicing Medicine and the Unequal Treatment by Medical Health Plans are the Reason That Causes the Flight of Doctors from Puerto Rico, According to the President of the College of Physicians-Surgeons of Puerto Rico

Dr. Eduardo Ibarra, elected president of the College of Physicians-Surgeons of Puerto Rico, expressed to Rebeca Banuchi, from the “El Nuevo Día”, on September 8, 2012, that the high price of practicing medicine and the unequal treatment that doctors provide by being remunerated by health care plans like Medicare, have dangerously combined causing the exodus of thousands of doctors looking for a better life.

Ibarra supported his statements with a study prepared by the Custum Research Center, which according to him, constitutes the first analysis with statistical data that supports the complaints, of years, by the medical community.

Ibarra tagged the discriminatory treatment that local doctors receive by the federal government and the proliferation of intermediaries in the health care system, as the main problems that afflict these professionals. With said statements, the College of Physicians-Surgeons, stands aside from its predecessor, Dr. Feliberti, who, during her presidency of the College, pretended to justify that the doctors’ exodus was because of the medical malpractice lawsuits.

College of Physicians-Surgeons Agrees that the Compensation Limit in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits is a "Failed" Strategy and against the "Trauma Center" Regulations 

According to an article published on September 28, 2012 by Marizta Díaz Alcaide from “El Nuevo Día”, doctors put the patient’s interest before their own and rejected the Department of Health’s 8131 Regulation, that qualifies multiple hospitals as trauma centers, where the a compensation for medical malpractice will be limited to $75,000.

The Senate of the College of Physicians-Surgeons of Puerto Rico denounce that the Department of Health prepared a regulation “with bases totally foreign to the Island’s reality”, regarding, especially, the quality of the doctors who remain in Puerto Rico to attend emergencies. Dr. Ibarra stated that the Department of Health is trying to create a trauma system “as if we are living in a fairytale”, when the truth is that very few hospitals are prepared to have units with this specialty, since there are no anesthesiologists and surgeons with medical specialties in this area.

Ibarra also criticized that the Department of Health’s requirements to qualify as a trauma center are lax, since they allow that almost any hospital in Puerto Rico qualifies as a trauma center.

The December 2011, Regulation of Integrated Management System Uniform Trauma and Emergency Medical Services, extends the same limit compensation awarded to public institutions, such as Hospital Medical Center of Puerto Rico (“Centro Médico”), to private hospitals, if they have a trauma center.

For the Association of Victims of Medical Malpractice, this is a set strategy, with the intention of doing what the Government could not do through legislation regarding medical malpractice compensations. Senator José Luis Dalmau stated that the Department of Health usurped the Legislature’s power and that the regulation is illegal.

American Association for JusticeAmerican Bar AssociationFederal Bar AssociationIndustrial Association of Puerto Rico

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