How Rick Shinto And Penelope Kokkinides Seek To Improve Healthcare In Puerto Rico
InnovaCare Health, Inc., is a New Jersey company which supplies Medicare Advantage and Medicaid policies to people living in Puerto Rico. They also provide access to provider networks. Both of these models are designed to offer cost-effective healthcare that is sustainable. The chief executive officer of this firm is Rick Shinto who has been in the healthcare industry for over 40 years. Another top executive is Penelope Kokkinides who is the chief administrative officer.
This company has been working to improve the level of healthcare in Puerto Rico for a number of reasons. This has taken on extra urgency in the wake of Hurricane Maria slamming this island, destroying much of the infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands had been displaced from their homes, especially in rural areas where too many still have no power months later.
The team at Innovacare Health say that over 20,000 people have Recargate, a facility they established to help those who need healthcare. Many hospitals were damaged during the hurricane so extra facilities like Recargate were needed to help patients out. Innovacare Health has been focused on preventing disease and managing prescription drugs at this facility.
At Recargate, Innovacare Health also offers educational opportunities such as seminars and workshops. They promote wellness and regularly hold exercise classes. They also conduct mental health screenings, especially as many were traumatized by the hurrican. Additionally, this facility has a recreation space so people have a safe place to go for having fun amidst the devastation.
CAO Penelope Kokkinides was selected to be one of eight women to visit the White House and talk to Donald Trump about healthcare in Puerto Rico. This was called the “Women in Healthcare” panel. During this time she talked to Trump as well as the CMS Administrator Seema Verma about the challenges of providing healthcare in Puerto Rico. Penelope emphasized during this meeting that funding for Medicare Advantage in Puerto Rico has been cut by over $1 billion a year, a figure that is far larger than the cuts have been in the rest of the United States.
One of the points that Penelope brought up was that boosting Medicare and Medicaid spending in Puerto Rico isn’t only humanitarian but also fiscally responsible. She says if those programs end up collapsing there all of the people using those plans will move to the mainland where the cost to treat them will be three or four times higher than it is in Puerto Rico.