Doctors Leaving Puerto Rico

In 2013, Yahoo News reported that the number of doctors practicing in Puerto Rico had dropped 13% over the previous five years. The reason is that medical professionals in general are leaving for the better life to be had in a State.

Doctors in the territory earn much less than those in the States, not just because of the overall economic difficulties in Puerto Rico but also because the territory is funded worse than the States in Medicare and Medicaid.

The drop reported on by Yahoo News was worst among specialists. The number of cardiologists had gone from 400 to 150, and the number of anesthesiologists from 300 to 100.

There was already a shortage of many kinds of doctors. So, the relocation of doctors and other medical professionals in the territory could lead to inadequate health care for the people of Puerto Rico.

Last month, Caribbean Business confirmed that doctors are still leaving at a rate it called “alarming.” The total number of doctors in the territory is not extremely low, the paper reported, but, as in 2013, specialists are tending to leave. New doctors are also trading in the territory for a State. When medical students head to the States to do internships, one university spokesperson was quoted as saying, they probably won’t return.

With many of the doctors in the territory in their fifties and sixties, a wave of retirement is also ahead.

The problem is not only one of healthcare. There is also the fact that doctors and medical care in general creates other jobs. A practicing doctor will have nurses, technical assistants, and office staff.

4 Comments

Roberto Cuilan

I am deeply sadden by the situation in Puerto Rico…and appearantly it will get worse before it gets better. Puerto Rico does not deserve this, but unless Congress steps in and itervenes nothing will happen, and things will continue to affect the millions that live there. And there are those who what Puerto Rico to be independent…think twice before doing so.

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Brian Tatro

Hello,

We have updated the web page on the Emigration of healthcare providers from Puerto Rico. As we had feared, the emigration has continued. The updated data show a continuation of the dramatic increase of healthcare providers, especially physicians, emigrating from Puerto Rico to the US mainland. The data is up to June 2018 and the numbers seem to indicate that this exodus will continue.

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