The Colombian government has allocated $558 million to the public hospital network, which the minister of social protection said Friday will be sufficient to save major hospitals from closing.
Minister of Social Protection Mauricio Santamaria announced that the funds will solve the public hospital network’s economic crisis, Caracol Radio reported.
The first $90 million is currently being distributed to troubled hospitals. The government expects to administer the remaining resources by December, the minister said.
Santamaria made the announcement to quell rumors of looming hospital closures, which have been spreading since hospitals began to suspend services earlier this year due to inability to pay for staff and supplies.
The crisis followed a health sector scandal in which health insurance companies (EPS) allegedly stole as much as $2.5 billion from public health care funds.
“At the root of the crisis, the EPS have not repaid in three months and the debt to hospitals has become 3.7 trillion pesos ($2 billion),” said Santamaria.
Hospitals across Colombia, including in Bogota, Medellin and Cali, turned to the government for assistance after banks begin to deny credit loans due to high default risks.