Hartford HealthCARES Helps Hospital in Puerto Rico

In Jan. 2018, Hartford HealthCare (HHC) introduced Hartford HealthCARES, a new, rapid-response system-wide giving program aimed at helping communities near and far when disaster strikes. The first recipient of the campaign was Castañer General Hospital in the remote mountains of Central Puerto Rico.

While Puerto Rico is located approximately 1,700 miles from the shores of Connecticut, the hurricane’s impact had a direct effect on the Central Region. About one-third of New Britain’s population is Puerto Rican and one in five Meriden residents have roots to the island.

When power went out on the island of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in Sept. 2017, residents flocked to Castañer General Hospital, seeking shelter and other basic needs for survival. Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds, devastated almost all of Puerto Rico, leaving long-lasting effects that the people there will feel for many years to come.

Residents came to Castañer General Hospital seeking power for medical devices, such as nebulizers and oxygen machines to help them breathe. Hospital refrigerators kept insulin at safe temperatures for folks with diabetes. Power outlets in waiting rooms charged phones and other electronic devices, enabling much needed communication with worried friends and family. However, after many months, the hospital generator began to fail due to water damage in the electrical grid. The hospital was at risk of losing power completely.

HHC reached out to Castañer General Hospital and asked how we could help. In less than a month, $34,000 was donated from HHC employees to buy Castañer General Hospital a new generator. In addition, HHC made an additional significant contribution to help families displaced by Hurricane Maria secure safe housing in Connecticut.

Inspired by HHC’s efforts, BestHalo, a private company in Hartford, shipped 36 Halo AC/DC batteries to the hospital. The batteries charged medical equipment and mobile devices and relieved stress on the old generator.