An agreement has been reached to ensure the continuity of healthcare services in Colombia. The Office of the People’s Ombudsman mediated between the government and the Health Promoting Companies (EPS) to bridge their positions.
The announcement made by the three major EPS in the country regarding their economic difficulties, amidst the debate about healthcare reform, had raised concerns in the sector. With this agreement, it is expected that the service will remain guaranteed to citizens while the political sphere reaches a consensus on the new reform.
The Office of the People’s Ombudsman convened the Ministry of Health, the EPS, and other representatives from the healthcare sector at a table to reach significant agreements. The first and most relevant is that the service will not be suspended. This way, users will continue to be attended to in their respective EPS with complete normalcy, regardless of the region of the country they reside in.
To comply with this agreement, the government of Gustavo Petro announced that if the EPS continue to serve citizens until the end of the year, they will receive an “economic lifeline” in the form of an additional 10 trillion pesos. Thus, the Minister of Health, Guillermo Jaramillo, stated that the country’s three major EPS, Sanitas, Compensar, and Sura, have received 14 trillion pesos in the first 7 months of the year, which would be supplemented to ensure the continuity of the service.
The minister also announced that meetings with the EPS will continue in the coming days. “There are coordination meetings that will closely examine three fundamental topics: the sufficiency of the Compulsory Health Plan (UPC), maximum budgets, and pending debts from previous governments,” Jaramillo clarified in a press briefing.
Alleged Conspiracy against the Reform
Minister Jaramillo denounced a plot to sabotage the healthcare reform project being undertaken by the government in the legislature. “The State provides the funds to the EPS in advance. To date, not a single peso is owed to them, so the calculations regarding the difference in resources are unjustified,” the minister asserted.
Finally, Jaramillo urged the EPS not to be manipulated by those who want to create an unjustified crisis.
The President of the Colombian Association of Medical Companies (Acemi) stated, “We were able to express the issues that are particularly concerning, and there is a willingness for dialogue.”
Meetings between the parties will continue throughout this week to consolidate the agreements and ensure the continuity of healthcare services in the country while the definitive healthcare sector reform is advanced.