Over half a million dollars has been stolen from the Colombian healthcare system, according to the Comptroller General, Sandra Morelli, reported local media.
Government research revealed how people are using flaws in the system to divert money from healthcare for purposes other than those for which the money was originally intended. But Morelli denied that there was any concrete evidence of corruption, bribery or extortion by officials.
The head of the government fiscal control body spoke to the Health Minister and resolved that a better and more transparent healthcare system needs to be put in place. Morelli specified that this could be done with more preventative controls, law-abiding operators and management, and supervisory and regulatory commissions.
Some of the methods for siphoning off healthcare funds included inventing patients and men posing as women — who receive more funds for healthcare per capita. Resources were also diverted through the cost of drugs or service being inflated to up to 50 times their real value.
Morelli said that she could not comment on particular cases at this time since many people and organizations are still under investigation for embezzlement and corruption, and not just in the health system.
The latest figures follow a statement from Colombia’s medical federation in January that $5 billion has been illegitimately diverted from healthcare.