InnovaCare Health is a New Jersey company which supplies Medicare and Medicaid plans to the residents of Puerto Rico. The top executive is CEO Rick Shinto and the CAO is Penelope Kokkinides. They say that the patient always comes first at this organization and they firmly believe that a by enabling strong patient-provider relationships the people they serve will be healthier with better lives. They seek to keep costs down while providing excellent care through the use of advanced technology and smarter care.
Hurricane Maria caused massive damage in Puerto Rico when it hit in 2017. For months afterward there was no power and even know rural parts of the island remain in the dark. The capital city, San Juan has a large shopping center named Plaza las Americas. It was in this shopping mall that Innovacare Health decided to place Recargate (Spanish for “recharge”). When they first opened this place it was used as a place for people to recharge their electronic devices. It then became a clinic to treat people and since that time it has seen more than 20,000 patients. Puerto Ricans are using Recargate to charge up their smartphones and tablets while also seeking services such as mental and physical healthcare.
At Recargate, InnovaCare Health is offering a space for recreation and a place to attend an exercise class. They have also offered Puerto Ricans educational seminars and workshops about ways to live healthy lives. It is also a place where people can pick up donated items, like food and drugs, that corporations have been donating as part of the recovery efforts. People who qualify for social services also receive help from the employees of Recargate who help them apply for them.
Another way that InnovaCare Health is trying to improve healthcare in Puerto Rico is by getting more funding for Medicaid and Medicare there. Penelope Kokkinides was a participant in the Women in Healthcare” panel held at the White House and attended by Donald Trump and Seema Verma, the CMS Administrator. Penelope talked about how funding for these programs has been gashed by over $1 billion a year since 2011, an amount that exceeds the cuts in the states. Penelope Kokkinides made the case that if funding isn’t boosted in Puerto Rico then many people who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid will move to the states. When that happens the cost of treating them goes up by three to four times more expensive.