Mr. Wilfredo Braceras, founder, owner and president of Med.Care and their respective agencies, was born in Cuba on April 27, 1945, in a rural area near Yaguajay -municipality located north of the former province of Las Villas-, place where he spent his first years of life.By: Angel Cristobal
Mr. Braceras' father owned a farmland, which secured the family's support, but in that countryside there were no roads, but trails and paths; so the school-age boys and girls had to ride a horse or walk many miles to get to a school, among them the child Willy, who would receive the first lessons in a rural elementary school in the area.
Being seven years old Willy, the Braceras family moved to Remedios, also known as San Juan de los Remedios, a picturesque small town located 3 miles from the northern cost of Cuba, in the center of the island. Remedios is known as the cradle of Cuban traditions, legends and myths and for being the eighth village founded on the island, in 1513, by the Spanish conquers.
“I studied in Remedios” -Mr. Braceras recalls-, “until the 4th year of high school. At that time, upon reaching the 5th year you could get a bachelor’s in science or in letters and then you went to the University. I was going to graduate from high school at 16 years old”.
But after 1959, the so-called revolution would dramatically change the lives of millions of Cubans, among them the Braceras, who in 1961, because of the political, economic and social situation, moved to Havana with the objective of leaving the country.
"In the capital we lived clandestinely for more than a year, until I left Havana and flew to Miami where I arrived on August 7, 1962, accompanied by my two brothers". They were just three "Peter Pan" kids full of sadness, leaving behind not only the father and mother, their relatives and friends, but also their homeland and their culture. “I didn't see my parents until 1970, eight years later,” says Mr. Braceras reflexively, as if summarizing in a single sentence the anguish of thousands of Cuban children and boys who traveled the same path on a trip without return...
“In July 1967, I had graduated as a biochemist in Austin, Texas, and in January 1968 I was recruited by the United States Army”. It was the time of the Vietnam War and young Willy was highlighted just over a year in a military base in Germany until the end of the conflict.
However, under any circumstances, any stage of his life, the desire for study and professional growth never abandoned Mr. Braceras ...
“When I returned to the United States I went back to the University and reached another degree in Accounting, finance and banking. This allowed me to work as a federal agent of the Treasury Department, with the IRS, where I stayed until July 1982. And after completing two master’s degrees in accounting, taxation and management, respectively, I opened an accounting and management company in 1983”.
Our Heart is in the Home
“One of the clients of my accounting firm was a neurosurgeon doctor, and we agreed on the need to start a company that offered home health care services. First, we formed a group of 114 doctors in Hialeah (Miami-Dade, FL) and then we organized another group of 67 doctors in Coral Gable (Miami-Dade, FL). I was in charge of the two groups and had a nurse as a partner.
This was the root of Med.Care -which began in 1985-, and whose lei motif “Our Heart is in the Home” still remains as a horizon 35 years later. At that time, Mr. Bracera was already handling around 180 doctors.
“In the 80’s we opened diagnostic, surgery, and pharmacy centers, as well as departments for the sale and rental of equipment for home health care. Currently we do the full service at home, we take care of the patient since he/she leaves the hospital and is received by his family: we attend patients with wounds, those who need an IV infusions or chemotherapy; but also, pharmacy, oral compounds, and medical equipment service at home. We make all kinds of diagnosis at home, from radiology to a CTP. The doctors use to send what is necessary for a patient to a certain place and gives him/her full service. We are prepared to take care of the chronic patient, affected by any type of illness and we do everything under the same umbrella. I can say that we are one of the few companies that offers this”.
There We Go…
Med-Care has approximately 1,500 direct and indirect employees whose work has a great impact on the number of patients that are treated daily: about 3,500 patients from Key West to Vero Beach; around 200 thousand procedures per year in diagnostic and between 800-1000 daily deliveries at home of medicines, facilities or equipment.
"Looking ahead to the immediate future, we are doing inside the Diagnostic Centers an urgent care, instead of an emergency room. We can provide complete treatments to the chronic patient: X-rays, medical visit, intravenous infusion, life care, etc. We will focus on patients who, depending on an accurate diagnosis, will reduce their visits to a hospital several times a year. We are leading the Corporation to treat those patients at home, without them having to go to the hospital. With all these said our focus for a future will be to provide the best outpatient services”.