Santos promises to end health sector corruption

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos promised to put an end to the health care scandal and listed a series of measures the government is taking in order to do so, the president’s office reported Tuesday.

“Today we can say, with decisiveness and firmness, that the health uproar has ended!” Santos said during a tribute to former President Cesar Gaviria, assuring that the national government would bring to an end the corruption affecting the health sector and that those responsible for legal infractions would be prosecuted.

“This moment, more than a crisis, is a true opportunity that we are taking advantage of in order to strengthen the system, in order to restructure it and in order to manage to offer services each time of better quality, with equity and in a frame of financial sustainability,” added the president.

In regards to how the government plans to change the system, Santos said that the objective is “to keep few EPS [health insurance companies] but have them be really strong, with the most demanding standards, and that they comply well with their risk administration duties.”

The head of state also said that all of the plans currently covered by the various EPS companies would be unified into one, with benefits for everyone, and will hopefully be in place by December this year.

Control-related mechanisms mentioned by the president included placing strict control over the recoveries process, strengthening information systems, putting in place a national pharmaceutical police body, and allotting more resources for the Health Superintendency.

The country’s widespread health care scandal is believed to have involved a large number of EPS employees and government officials, and to have cost the state up to $2.5 billion. Five people have been officially charged thus far.

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