Health Care in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands: A Six-Month Check-Up After the Storms (Event)

Six months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria battered Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. territories continue to struggle with crippled infrastructure, faltering economies and an exodus of their populations to the continental U.S.  On Monday, March 19, 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation held a public briefing to examine the status of the recovery on the islands, with a focus on how their health care systems are doing and the likely impact of new Medicaid and disaster relief funding approved by Congress earlier this year.

Diane Rowland, the Executive Vice President of KFF, moderated the event. The U.S. Virgin Islands delegate to Congress, Rep. Stacey Plaskett, provided remarks. Barbara Lyons and Samantha Artiga of KFF shared insights and a video from KFF’s recent fact-finding visit to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


  • Joshua Barnes, Acting Director of Recovery, Office of Emergency Management, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • Rafael Rodríguez-Mercado, M.D., Secretary of Health for Puerto Rico
  • Ivonne Rivera-Hernández, Executive Director of HealthproMed, a community health center in Puerto Rico
  • Bernard A. Wheatley, D.B.A., Chief Executive Officer of the Schneider Regional Medical Center, U.S. Virgin Islands

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