The Industrial Hospital of Puerto Rico, the island's only institution dedicated entirely to treating job-related injuries and illness, will be remodeled and modernized thanks to a $40-million investment.

"We'll make its services conform to the new health, safety and privacy standards for hospitals. We're bringing the Industrial Hospital into the 21st century," Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Tuesday.

He called the remodeling "one of the leading projects in the area of healthcare infrastructure."

This will be the first remodeling in the 46-year history of the institution, which attends some 91,000 people a year and which has been deteriorating for years for want of maintenance.

Because of their run-down condition, two of its operating rooms had to be closed last year. The hospital, which until then performed an average of 1,900 procedures a year, had to outsource those services, which only made its economic problems worse.

"After two years of waiting, at last we're going to remodel the two existing operating rooms and construct three more. The five will be equipped with the most advanced technology. We're also going to modernize the postoperative unit," the governor told a press conference.

According to government plans, there will be new outside clinics, which will cut the waiting time for outpatient procedures and other services provided here. And physical therapy areas will have more space for each cubicle.

The remodeling will begin in June and will take some 30 months, during which time the hospital will remain open. EFE