Prosecutor general opens 2 new healthcare scandal investigations

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office opened up two new criminal investigations into irregularities in the provision of medical care and mismanagement of funds administrated by the government agency Fosyga, W Radio announced Wednesday.

The prosecutor general and the National Police have begun an investigation into the legal representatives, partners and other employees from 15 healthcare providers (IPS).

The hospital and doctor’s office employees allegedly received money from Fosyga for medical services that were never provided to patients.

According to preliminary investigators, these irregular IPS institutions, known as “paper companies,” have been operating since 2004.

In the second investigation, the Prosecutor General’s Office is looking into the alleged criminal activities of a number of health insurance (EPS) companies. These EPS companies reportedly provided healthcare to ineligible recipients.

According to the prosecutor general, the EPS companies illegally collected social security funds for recipients (mostly state employees) already covered by a special healthcare plan. The EPS companies, reportedly aware that the patients were doubly covered, are believed to have embezzled the surplus funds.

Several officials from the various EPS companies, as well as from the Ministry of Social Protection and Fosyga, are already the subject of current investigations.

Saludcoop, Colombia’s largest EPS company, was reposessed by the state on May 12 after being implicated in the major health sector scandal that first came to light in April.

Payments requests to Fosyga and the Ministry of Social Protection made by five other EPS companies, Salud Colpatria, Coomeva, Ecopsos, Famisanar, and Solsalud, were also found to be fraudulent.

There were multiple cases of “dead people receiving benefits, monumental budget overruns and people successfully petitioning for a health service to be funded, but never receiving the money because it was kept by middlemen,” said Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos in May.

Investigators determined that Fosyga reimbursed the EPS payment requests without proper consideration, receipts, or any official letters.

In some cases, payments were supported by claims with names that did not coincide with that of the patient. Other claims were for people who were not even affiliated to that particular EPS and in certain instances the medication authorized did not reach the patient.

Related posts

Central Colombia mining disaster kills 21, rescue attempts ended

At least 11 dead, 10 missing after central Colombia mine blasts

Venezuela extradites convicted former lawmaker to Colombia