Baystate Hospital Could Get $500,000 To Cover Hurricane Evacuee Costs

Jun 1, 2018

Baystate Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, could receive half a million dollars from the state for care it's provided to hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria was the worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in almost a century. It left large parts of the island without electricity or clean water and crippled its health care system.

Many evacuees came to western Massachusetts, and more than 400 received care from Baystate Hospital.

Dr. Orlando Torres is Medical Director of the hospital's High Street Health Center.

"We saw PTSD from going through this trauma, just regular chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, even cancer treatment care," he said. "Access to a pharmacy and just regular pain medication like Tylenol or Advil. It was virtually non-existent." 

That care has cost Baystate a lot of money.

State Senator James Welch, who sponsored the reimbursement, said he anticipates it will be included in the final budget sent to Governor Charlie Baker. 

Welch said it's a good use of taxpayer money because "these are American citizens that have been dsiplaced. They didn't have anywhere else to go. I think it's the right thing to do as a country, as a state and as a community."