February 05, 2021 – 11:30 pm
Newsroom El País
At least $ 42,000 million is the debt that the EPS have with different hospitals in the department solely for the care of covid patients in Intensive Care Units, with a cut-off to December 2020. This was announced by the Secretary of Health, María Cristina Lesmes, who warned of the risk this poses to health care during the second peak of the pandemic.
“The Hospital San Juan de Buga is owed $ 7.6 billion, the HUV $ 6.8 billion; to the Red Salud de Oriente (a clinic that was created solely to provide COVID services), $ 5.7 billion; to ‘Isaías Duarte’ $ 4.8 billion; to ‘Tomás Uribe Uribe’, $ 2,200, and so on, “said Lesmes.
In addition to counting these institutions, the crisis also affects seven other hospitals in the region, so it is possible “that most of the institutions go to high financial risk this year,” said the official in a virtual meeting in which they were some managers of the affected medical centers.
To this is added that the deficit for the payment of all health services “of the public institutions of the department as of September -that is, without including the portfolio of the last three months of the year- amounts to more than $ 263 billion” .
Faced with this situation, the National Superintendent of Health, Fabio Aristizábal Ángel, announced at the meeting: “If I have to take precautionary measures, I take them to protect the line of business; If we have to intervene in the resources of some EPS, because they are not turning over to the hospitals in a timely manner, as we are going to have to do it to protect resources now in times of pandemic, especially in institutions that are vital for the performance of the region in the middle of the second peak of Covid-19 ”.
One of the most critical cases takes place at the San Juan de Dios Hospital, located in the center of Cali. The president of the union organization of the same, Sergio Falla Acevedo, assured that to meet the costs of this month the institution received $ 1600 million, resources that are not enough to cover the fixed operating costs of $ 4800, that is, there is a shortage of $ 3200 million every month.
“The outlook is quite bleak, because we don’t have cash flow, so specialists and temporary staff are not paid, and it is also difficult to cover expenses for medical supplies, such as antibiotics, serums, oxygen, etc. Look that of the 750 health workers in the hospital, they are owed between four and nine months, depending on their functionality, in addition to the fact that the staff – both unionized and non-unionized – have not been paid their June premium ”, Explained Falla Acevedo, who works in the nursing area.
He added that the covid bonus promised by the National Government in the framework of the health emergency has only reached 40% of the Isaías Duarte health personnel, a situation that seems to be not alien to the national level.
“Another serious problem is that although we used to be a hospital that managed to do 40 surgeries a day, today we can hardly do any, given the lack of surgical elements, such as relaxants and anesthetics, which today are difficult to find in the market. because everything is taken care of by covid patients. But the worst thing is that due to this reduction in our capacity, our patients are getting worse at home, ”he said.
For Falla Acevedo, “the State should cover that shortfall that we have per month on average and with a projection of 10 to 15 years, in order to give us time to return those resources, but as we are now, it will cost us a lot to reach the financial balance ”.
Another more reassuring but no less worrisome scenario is presented at Hospital San Juan de Buga, to which they owe the most for care of covid patients. The manager of the institution, Yamileth Garzón, indicated that the money owed to her by the EPS reaches $ 55 billion as of December, with 85% corresponding to the care of non-covid patients.
“If we look at the figures more closely, we realize that the portfolio that has already accumulated more than a year is 46%; the one that includes 180 to 360 days, 15%, and the current portfolio, 30% “, indicated the manager of San Juan de Buga.
Garzón added that “this implies having a fairly tight cash flow, with the difficulty of achieving lower costs and a more timely response to our suppliers.”
El País contacted the union that brings together the EPS of the subsidized and contributory regime to find out its position on the matter, but it was not possible to receive a response at the close of this edition.