The secretary of health for Colombia’s capital of Bogota on Thursday announced that the city’s hospitals are amid financial collapse.
“All the emergency services in all of the clinics in Bogota have completely collapsed,” said Health Secretary Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo, in a radio interview.
The situation has left the Colombian capital struggling to deal with incoming patients across the city. The director for Bogota’s Santa Clara hospital, Hugo Armando, said that while all new patients had received treatment, they were nearing their capacity.
“We have infrastructure problems, we don’t have enough beds…we are ready to care for 11 patients, but if 100 arrive we do not have sufficient means to provide for them, said Armando.
The Health Secretary announced that an emergency meeting is to be held with Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria in the next few hours, to discuss the possibility of using a reserve of funds to come to the aid of Bogota’s ailing health system in the Colombian capital. According to Alfonso, the reserve contains up to $411 Million which is currently unavailable due to established protocol barriers.
Alfonso confirmed that privately run Health Promoting Businesses such as the EPS, which serve as intermediaries between the Colombian public and the state health service, are yet to pay $193 million in debts to the health service, reportedly leaving the clinics with insufficient funds to continue to function.
The Secretary added that they will not continue to do business with EPS Salud Capital, which is reportedly suffering heavy financial losses. EPS businesses were at the center of a controversial embezzlement scandal that affected the Health service between 2007 and 2010.
The EPS and other such private health institutions are set to be replaced by a new, government controlled fund under new health reforms recently submitted to Congress.