DDEC issued guidelines for compliance with community medical services for qualified physicians under Act 14 of 2017 and Act 60 of 2019.
Circular Letters No. 001-2022 and 002-2022, issued on February 8th by the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) and the Department of Health, established the procedure that qualified physicians must follow to obtain the Certification of Compliance with Community Medical Services, as established on Act 14 of 2017 and Act 60 of 2019. Qualified physicians with tax exemption grants issued under these acts must comply with at least 180 community service hours without compensation each year.
Community medical services include diagnostic and treatment services offered by qualified physicians, as established by the Department of Health, without receiving economic remuneration. Furthermore, Circular Letters No. 001-2022 and 002-2022, provide additional guidance and a list of the various qualified entities where physicians can provide the eligible community services mentioned below.
Eligible Community Medical Services
The following services are considered eligible community medical services for the 180 hours:
- Assist in teaching hospitals and schools of medicine in the education of medical students, medical residents, and other health professionals.
- Offer medical services on regions without specialized medical services, as designated by the Secretary of Health.
- Provide on-call services on hospitals selected by the College of Physicians of Puerto Rico together with the Department of Health, authorized by the Assistant Secretary for the Regulation and Accreditation of Health Facilities (SARAFS, by its Spanish acronym).
- Provide services as a resource on trainings or continuing education courses for medical students and health professionals in Puerto Rico.
- Provide services as a resource on seminars about prevention and other health topics to the community.
- Provide medical services to disadvantaged populations through non-profit entities. Special communities and disadvantaged populations are those featured in the official records of the Office of Socioeconomic Development of the Government of Puerto Rico.
- Provide voluntary medical services due to a health emergency or any other emergency declared by the Governor of Puerto Rico.
- Provide voluntary medical services due to any situation that affects public health, as declared by the Secretary of Health.
As an exception, the services provided to patients of the Puerto Rico Government Health Plan, as part of a service contract, or to patients of the Puerto Rico Veterans Administration Health System, will be considered community medical services even if economic remuneration is received for such services. In these cases, the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration (ASES, by its Spanish acronym) will certify such services, and should provide a certification directly to the qualified physician.
To attest compliance with the 180 community medical service hours, the qualified physician must complete and file the “Application for the Certification of Compliance with Community Services” (“the form”) with the Office of Regulation and Certification of Health Professionals, Medical Discipline and Licensing Board (ORCHP).
The form must be completed in all its sections and accompanied by the supporting documents requested by the Department of Health through Circular Letter No. 002-2022. Incomplete forms will not be considered. This form must be filed on or before February 15, 2023, and subsequently before the 15th of February each year. The form is subject to a $300 filing fee.
Through the ORCHP, the Department of Health will review the form for compliance with the established criteria in a term of 20 days. Once approved, the ORCHP will issue a Certification of Compliance with Community Services to the qualified physician. This certification will be valid for one year. The ORCHP will automatically remit the Certification of Compliance to the Incentives Office and to the Department of Treasury.
If any applicant is denied the Certification of Compliance, he or she may request a reconsideration from the Secretary of Health within 30 days following the date of deposit in mail of the denial notice.
Qualified physicians who do not meet the community service hours’ requirement will be issued a Non-Compliance Certification that will be sent by the ORCHP to the Incentives Office for the corresponding procedure, which may include the revocation of the tax grant.
At RSM Puerto Rico, we can provide you with additional information and advice regarding this matter. Please contact our tax advisors at (787) 751-6164 | [email protected] for help or more information.