Over 400 Hurricane Maria survivors received medical treatment in Springfield within the last year

Hampden County

More than 400 Hurricane Maria survivors from Puerto Rico have received medical treatment in Springfield.

33-year-old Yaritza Barreto suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. She’s confined to a wheelchair.

Yaritza was treated at Baystate’s High Street Medical Center soon after arriving from Puerto Rico last November. They helped her bypass the red tape.

“We really didn’t figure out our insurance part from Puerto Rico because you know, when we relocated we still had our Puerto Rico insurance, but they still saw us, they provided the health care we needed,” said Barreto.

High Street Health Center Director Dr. Orlando Torres said more than 400 survivors who needed medical care in Springfield, sought treatment for a variety of ailments.

“Most of the folks who ended up were elders, oxygen dependent people who took chronic medication, people with respiratory conditions,” said Dr. Torres.

Yaritza was also grateful to members of the Springfield Legislative Delegation who helped secure $500,000 to pay for the survivors’ medical treatment.

Senate president Karen Spilka called the allocated funds, money well spent, “Very well spent and by meeting some of the folks that benefited from it warms my heart. I started out as a social worker.”

The half million dollars covered medical treatment for some 450 hurricane survivors at the three Baystate neighborhood health centers in Springfield.

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