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MC-21 Recalls How It Guaranteed Its Pharmacy Services In The Aftermath Of Hurricane María

The company examines the successful implementation of its disaster plan in a regional conference of healthcare leaders

San Juan, Puerto Rico
May 16, 2019

MC-21 reviewed today the measures the company took before and after Hurricane María to guarantee the pharmacy benefits services it renders more than 2 million people in Puerto Rico.


Caterina Lausell, MC-21’s General Counsel, reviewed those measures during her presentation to a group of healthcare services industry leaders attending the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) regional conference that takes place today and tomorrow at the San Juan Marriott Hotel in Condado.

MC-21 is the Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) of several healthcare plans, including the plan provided by the government of Puerto Rico to the island’s more than a million beneficiaries of Medicaid. The company also manages pharmacy benefits to beneficiaries of Medicare.

Lausell recalled that immediately after Hurricane María, the vast majority of pharmacies had no electric power and their communication systems stopped working. “Needless to say that after Hurricane Maria hit the Island, the vast majority of the pharmacies in Puerto Rico had no connectivity to transmit or process their claims,” she commented.

Through its Business Continuity & Disaster Plan, MC-21 was able to manage the island’s electrical and communications systems disruptions.  Moreover, key personnel and members of the call center were temporary relocated to the US in order to provide services to Puerto Rico.

“As a preventive measure, additional cell phones were acquired and distributed before the Hurricane, in order to ensure the continuity of our call center,” Lausell added.

She also highlighted the communications the company exchanged with its clients, vendors and pharmacies before the arrival of hurricane Maria regarding the importance of guaranteeing the continuity of services. MC-21 also established four hubs so that the pharmacies could have a well-equipped physical space to process prescription drugs. “The objective was to provide the pharmacies with a location that had all the required technology to process pharmacy claims on line,” Lausell explained.

As a result of these measures, MC-21 was able to provide uninterrupted services 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

She also acknowledged the outstanding commitment shown by MC-21 employees during the emergency and its recuperation. “The team provided services during and immediately after the Hurricane, but even more astonishing, most of the employees reported to work the day after the Hurricane.  We were able to maintain the operations up and running, even though many of them were strongly affected by the disaster,” Lausell said.

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