Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Secretary of State Cesar Perales, and State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker M.D., will make a trip to Puerto Rico Oct. 12 to Oct. 14 as part of a New York State delegation designed to assist the commonwealth in creating a Medicaid transformation plan, state officials said.
New York State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson, and Assembly Members Marco Crespo and Richard Gottfried will also travel with the group.
“As the home of the largest Puerto Rican population outside the Commonwealth, New York has a special bond with its people that is unbreakable,” Lt. Governor Hochul stated. “Under the leadership of Gov. Cuomo, we have made it a top priority to assist Puerto Rico through this difficult period. The objective of this coalition is simple – assist the Puerto Rican government in addressing it’s health care challenges by providing the expertise, resources, and support needed. The people of Puerto Rico deserve no less from their friends in New York State.”
According to officials, the delegation will share experience in developing a Medicaid Management Information System, and the use of data mining solutions to help identify opportunities to both lower costs and improve outcomes in the commonwealth. In addition, the group will help Puerto Rico negotiate a Medicaid waiver to be submitted to the federal government by the end of this year.
“New Yorkers help out when others are in need,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The health care challenges that Puerto Rico is facing are not unlike those that we addressed successfully here in New York. I believe that together we can help the Puerto Rican government reform its health care system, save taxpayer dollars and ultimately improve the lives of millions of people – and we are proud to be helping out.”
New York received an $8 billion “Medicaid waiver” in 2014, and, according to Cuomo’s office, the effort in Puerto Rico will include an application to the federal government for a similar “investment to implement transformation strategies.”
Nearly 68 percent of the residents of Puerto Rico receive their health care through Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid.
The New York delegation will also tour a hospital, clinic and medical offices to learn more about the commonwealth’s health care system, during the trip.
Elisabeth Wynn, Senior Vice President of Health Economics and Finance for Greater New York Hospital Association, and Terry Bischoff of the Puerto Rico Health Care Crisis Coalition will also travel with the group.