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On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the U.S. Virgin Islands followed by Hurricane Maria less than two weeks later. On September 20, 2017, Maria then made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, the strongest hurricane to hit the island.  These two storms caused significant, widespread damage to these U.S. territories. These resources examine various aspects of the ongoing recovery efforts in these territories, including infrastructure, public health and health care challenges, as well as public opinion on the recovery effort. Also available are databases with information specific to Puerto Rico and the USVI in a variety of areas, inlcuding demographics and the economy, health status, Medicaid, minority health and women’s health.
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Abismo en el financiamiento de Medicaid: Implicaciones para los sistemas de atención de salud de Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de los EE.UU.

Este resumen ofrece una descripción general del estado de los sistemas de atención médica y los programas de Medicaid en Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de los EE.UU. (USVI) aproximadamente un año y medio después que los huracanes Irma y María azotaran las islas, en septiembre de 2017. Después de las tormentas, los programas de Medicaid de los territorios han servido como recursos importantes para atender las necesidades de atención médica de los residentes, pero han operado bajo desafíos financieros de larga data. Este resumen se enfoca en esos desafíos e incluye el análisis de KFF de las consecuencias para las finanzas de los programas de Medicaid de los territorios, ya que la mayoría de los fondos federales de Medicaid provistos a través de la Ley de Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio (ACA), y la asistencia para desastres, expirarán a fines de septiembre de 2019. Los otros territorios de los EE.UU. (Samoa Americana, el Commonwealth de las Islas Marianas del Norte y Guam) también enfrentan retos relacionados con el vencimiento programado de los fondos de ACA. Este resumen se basa en trabajos anteriores y en informes públicos recientes, y en entrevistas con funcionarios de los territorios en los lugares afectados, con proveedores, con responsables de planes de salud de Puerto Rico y beneficiarios.

Medicaid Financing Cliff: Implications for the Health Care Systems in Puerto Rico and USVI

This brief provides an overview of the status of the health care systems and Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) about one and a half years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the islands in September 2017. The hurricanes exacerbated the territories’ existing economic and health care challenges by accelerating outmigration of residents and health care providers and destroying homes, schools, health care facilities, and other infrastructure. After the storms, the territories’ Medicaid programs have served as important resources for addressing residents’ health care needs, but they have operated under longstanding financing challenges. This brief focuses on these challenges and includes KFF analysis of the implications for the territories’ Medicaid program finances, as most of the temporary federal Medicaid funds provided through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and disaster relief are set to expire at the end of September 2019. The other U.S. territories (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam) also face challenges tied to the scheduled expiration of ACA funds.

Medicaid in the Territories: Program Features, Challenges, and Changes

This brief draws on a survey of and interviews with Medicaid officials in U.S. Territories, as well as other research, to examine key issues and trends in their Medicaid programs. Territories differ from the states on key demographic, economic, and health status indicators. Unlike in the states, where federal Medicaid funding is not capped, and the federal share varies based on states’ per capita income, Medicaid in the territories is subject to a statutory cap and a fixed federal matching rate.

Medicaid: What to Watch in 2019 from the Administration, Congress, and the States

Medicaid, the provider of health insurance coverage for about one in five Americans and the largest payer for long-term care services in the community and nursing homes, continues to be a key part of health policy debates at the federal and state level. Important Medicaid issues to watch in 2019 include Medicaid expansion developments amid ongoing litigation about the ACA’s constitutionality as well as Medicaid demonstration waiver activities, including those focused on work requirements and other eligibility restrictions. States are also likely to continue to pursue initiatives to address the opioid crisis, and the recent passage of bi-partisan legislation with new tools and financing could bolster these efforts. Primary areas of federal policy to watch in 2019 with implications for Medicaid include the expiration of temporary funding for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the absence of legislative action as well as potential regulatory changes to public charge policies that would likely lead to Medicaid enrollment declines among immigrant families. Finally, reforms in benefits, payment and delivery systems continue to evolve as states and the federal government focus on managed care, social determinants of health, prescription drugs, and community based long-term care. While beyond the scope of this brief, Congress and states could also consider broader health reform that could expand the role of public programs in health care including Medicare for All or Medicaid buy-in programs that could have significant implications for Medicaid.

Un año después de las tormentas: la recuperación y la atención de salud en Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. (Informe)

Un año después que los huracanes Irma y María tocaran tierra, Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. (USVI) todavía sienten los efectos de las tormentas. Basándose en entrevistas con partes interesadas clave y en informes públicos, este reporte proporciona una visión general del estado de recuperación y los esfuerzos de preparación para la actual temporada de huracanes, un año después de las tormentas, enfocándose en los sistemas de atención de salud de los territorios.

One Year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Recovery Has Progressed Slowly in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Health Care Challenges Remain, Particularly in Mental Health

One year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria made landfall, recovery has progressed slowly and unevenly in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The territories’ health care systems continue to face capacity, infrastructure and financial challenges even as health needs have increased, especially in mental health, according to two new…

One Year after the Storms: Recovery and Health Care in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

One year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria made landfall, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) are still feeling the storms’ effects. Drawing on key stakeholder interviews and public reports, this brief provides an overview of recovery status and preparation efforts for the current hurricane season one year after the storms, with a focus on the territories’ health care systems.

The Washington Post/KFF Survey: Nearly a Year After Hurricane Maria, Over 8 in 10 Residents of Puerto Rico Report That the Storm Affected Their Lives in Major Ways, Including Losing Power for Months, Job Losses, Major Housing Damage, Drinking Water Shortages and New or Worsening Health Problems

Nearly a year after Hurricane Maria swamped their island, eighty-three percent of the residents of Puerto Rico say the storm affected their lives in major and lasting ways, from months-long power outages to employment losses, damaged or destroyed homes, drinking water shortages and new or worsening health problems, finds a…