As evacuees from Puerto Rico continue arriving in Miami-Dade and Orange County, surrounding counties like Palm Beach County are stepping up to provide services and much needed care. The C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics were among the state’s first FQHC’s to respond to Governor Scott’s call for a State of Emergency in response to Hurricane Maria. Thus far, these patients have been seen at the Brumback Clinics’ West Boca and Lake Worth sites. One of those patients is Gloria Espada, 76, who brought her 42-year-old son with special needs. Both were left devastated after their apartment building in Caguas, Puerto Rico was gutted by winds and flooding. Fortunately, Espada’s family in Lake Worth is helping them rebuild their lives. Since evacuating, Friday, October 13th was the first opportunity that they had to re-establish health care. In addition to the medical and dental services provided by the Brumback Clinics, Health Care District staff are providing support to the “whole person”; offering assistance accessing other health and human services. It is a small step but an important one. Espada and her son are scheduled for a follow-up visit later this month.

“We are committed to assisting families fleeing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who are in need of primary care services” said Darcy J. Davis, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. “Our clinics are a touch point for evacuees. Medical, dental and behavioral health care are often the entry door to other needed services. Staff at our primary care clinics provide a ‘warm hand-off’ to victims of natural disasters. Our staff help them navigate other important services like the pharmacy program, access to school nurses in the public schools or in extreme cases, acute care at our rural, teaching hospital in the western Glades. Our goal is to help families recover from the storm.”
Christopher F. Irizarry, MPA, Vice President and Executive Director of Clinic Services for the Health Care District said, “Many of our staff members are Caribbean natives who speak English, Spanish and Creole. The recovery effort is a personal issue for many. We are deeply committed and proud to offer quality, compassionate care to these patients who have endured extreme conditions and tremendous losses.”