March 15, 2018
Readout of HHS Deputy Secretary Hargan's Visit to Puerto Rico
Yesterday, approximately six months after landfall of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan traveled to Puerto Rico as part of the Trump Administration’s continued government-wide recovery efforts. His visit follows HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s renewal of the Public Health Emergency for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, signed on Tuesday of this week.
First in Puerto Rico, Deputy Secretary Hargan met with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) leadership and HHS employees co-located at the Joint Federal Office (JFO). Here, he was briefed by staff on the recovery process and discussed what work still needs to be done to fulfill ongoing needs in Puerto Rico.
Next, Deputy Secretary Hargan visited the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) San Juan District Office to learn about the work that was done in the wake of last year’s hurricanes to support pharmaceutical and medical device companies affected by the hurricanes. Understanding that Puerto Rico produces more pharmaceuticals for the U.S. ($40 billion in value) than any of the 50 states or any single foreign country, the Trump Administration and HHS worked to prevent these companies’ departures from Puerto Rico, saving thousands of American manufacturing jobs. Deputy Secretary Hargan was privileged to meet with the resilient FDA team responsible for this success.
Finally, as part of HHS’s continued vigilance and efforts to monitor recovery, Deputy Secretary Hargan met with aging and disability representatives to discuss programs that serve Puerto Rico’s elderly population. They discussed the current status of the programs and the ongoing and future needs of this demographic.
HHS personnel worked with other federal personnel to care for over 36,000 patients on the U.S. mainland and in the islands after Hurricanes Harvey, Nate, Irma, and Maria. The Trump Administration and HHS remain committed to protecting health in communities across the southeastern U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as they recover from the hurricanes.
Watch the HHS response and recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria.