Wherever one lives in the United States in the 21st century, it is impossible not to know that our healthcare system is complex and challenging. One insurance company has provided a shining example of what is right with healthcare today. InnovaCare Health, Inc. is a managed healthcare service provider who serves a large segment of the population of Puerto Rico. Two managed care plans have achieved a rating of 4.5 stars (out of a maximum of 5) this year on the island that was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. These plans are MMM (Medicare y Mucho Mas} and PMC Medicare Choice.
One reason for this achievement is the leadership of President and CEO Rick Shinto, who began his career as an internist and pulmonologist in California. After practicing medicine for a time, Dr. Shinto wanted to know more about the administrative side of the medical profession, so he added to his medical degree an MBA. This dual educational focus places him in a unique position to deal with the complex issues facing Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Maria.
After the hurricane-ravaged on the island, Dr. Shinto helped implement a campaign called Caminamos Juntos (“We Walk Together”). The name was chosen to be a reminder to the people of Puerto Rico that they would not have to face this tragedy alone. Many problems complicated the relief effort. Roads were blocked, power was out all over the island and government resources had already been stretched to the limit with the damage from Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida.
Dr. Shinto was joined in the effort by Penelope Kokkinides, Chief Administrative Officer for InnovaCare, Inc. In March 2017, Kokkinides was one of eight women invited to the White House for a meeting with President Trump and Seema Verma (CMS Administrator). She used this opportunity to request increased funding for Medicare Advantage in Puerto Rico, which had been cut yearly since 2011, with cuts being disproportionate with those in other parts of the country. Because of her efforts, CMS announced favorable adjustment in the Puerto Rico healthcare system going forward.
From the first responders who flew in with chartered planes to deliver medical supplies and transport seriously injured people to the mainland for care to the mobile healthcare units reaching out to the rural areas, InnovaCare has given help and hope to the people of Puerto Rico, and the walk will go on!