Health Sector Alliance Launches Effort to Drive Patient Visits to Doctors

San Juan, Puerto Rico (November 13)– An unprecedented alliance comprised of multiple health insurers, service providers, industry associations and the government of Puerto Rico announced the start of an advertising, public relations and outreach campaign titled “Visit Your Doctor Today,” which aims to help patients seek preventive care and better manage existing health conditions through regular visits to their primary medical doctors and specialists.

Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration (ASES for its Spanish acronym) Executive Director Ángela Ávila and Health Department Secretary Dr. Rafael Rodríguez Mercado in a joint press conference with the sponsoring companies and professional associations issued an urgent call for citizens to resume medical care through their doctors.

“The ‘Visit Your Doctor Today’ campaign seeks to normalize the procurement of health services by our citizens as soon as possible. To that end, we will inform the population about which medical facilities and health service providers are operating and how to contact them. We are asking our citizens to visit their primary and specialist doctors in order to resume the adequate care of medical conditions”, said Ávila, campaign spokesperson. “If you are unable to contact your primary doctor please contact your health insurer or refer to the provider directory that we have prepared to help patients in the process.”

“This initiative represents a singular event and a historic precedent that evidences what can be accomplished when the private and public sector come together for the benefit of our citizens. This effort is also consistent with Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s vision to advance the recovery process of the island after the passage of hurricane Maria,” added Secretary Rodríguez. “Having our citizens visit their doctors regularly to maintain adequate health care is important to prevent the spread of disease and ensure that patients don’t neglect the treatment of existing medical conditions.”

Ávila announced that ASES has developed a health service provider directory using information provided by health insurers for digital and print distribution as a complement to the media campaign. The directory, available for digital download at www.asespr.org, includes contact and working hour information for primary medical groups, specialists, pharmacies, hospitals, laboratories, diagnostic and treatment centers (CDT’s for their Spanish acronym), dialysis clinics and radiology services centers.

The alliance behind the “Visit Your Doctor Today” initiative includes ten health insurance companies – Constellation Health, CMC Care, First Medical Health Plan, Inc., Humana, MAPFRE, MCS, Molina Healthcare, MMM, Plan de Salud Menonita and Triple-S –, as well as ASES, the Puerto Rico Health Department, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Best Option Healthcare, Redes del Sureste, the Insurance Companies’ Association of Puerto Rico (ACODESE for its Spanish acronym), the Pharmaceutical Industry Association (PIA), the Independent Providers Association de PR (AIPR for its Spanish acronym), Primary Healthcare Association (FQHC’s), COOPHARMA, the College of Medical Doctors and Surgeons, the Puerto Rico Pharmacist Association, Abarca and MC-21.

The public communications effort includes public relations, advertising and outreach events. The advertising campaign will require an investment of less than $150,000 and will be funded in its entirety by insurers and the private sector. Furthermore, members of the alliance will actively distribute communication materials and the provider directory. Health fairs will also be held across the island to connect beneficiaries with their doctors and other health professionals.

“This campaign is critically important to prevent the spread of diseases and support easy access to medical care in the face of the serious public health emergency created in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Ávila.

The campaign starts on November 13 and ends in December 2017.

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