“Health reform is not set in stone”: Carolina Corcho – Health

The Minister of Health, Caroline Corcho Mejiain conversation with the public of EL TIEMPO’s digital platforms, responded to all the concerns raised about the sector, ranging from the current public health situation to the potential results of the reform that will be discussed in Congress in the first part of the 2023 .

Colombians can rest assured that amid health reform and transition, they will continue to be insured. The insurance is maintained

At first, he called for the maintenance of measures to deal with covid-19, which is showing a rebound in the country, saying that monkeypox is under control and vaccines will start to be distributed soon, insisting on the fact that gunpowder is prohibited and that measures are being strengthened to find those responsible for incidents with adulterated alcohol, Corcho, for the first time, in an open channel has responded to all the concerns raised, including some have been selected.

Have you come to end the health system?

Not at all and it is important that citizens know that the government of Gustavo Petro is not going to destroy the health system. Any changes we make will build on what has been built. It is impossible to carry out a Health Reform without taking into account the existing situation, advances and accumulation. With this, citizens can have peace of mind.

It is said that this government came to keep the health money, is it true?

Health has always been financed by the state; It is public funding based on workers’ contributions with their contributions and the taxes that all Colombians pay. To say that the government wants to keep these resources is a contradiction because all the treatments people receive are paid for by the state with public resources that belong to all citizens.

Is it true that what will be built is a big social insurance that will take care of everything?

It’s not true. The health system that existed before 1993 is not comparable to that of today. At that time, the state contributed less than 3.5% of GDP. It was a system with very little government funding. One of the great advances of Bill 100, which we want to maintain, is that the State has increased its funding. Next year, the highest level of resources for health will be reached, which in terms of GDP will be 8 percentage points. So it’s not even comparable to a system that had less than half the funding today. Things are different now.

Are you going to deliver health to mayors and governors in the middle of the electoral process?

It’s not true. Today, governors and mayors manage health resources related to promotion and prevention and will continue to be managed by them. The resources for service delivery of clinics and hospitals – which are public – are not managed by these leaders and the government has never offered it. What it is about is that clinics and hospitals are paid directly so that they can provide their services in a timely and quality manner, in addition to formalizing their workers.

Are you an enemy of private sector involvement in the health system?

The sector that will benefit the most is the private sector because in the reform, the provision of services and the care itself will be the responsibility of public and private hospitals. In fact, 80% of service delivery is private. The system will continue to be public, private and mixed. The private sector will benefit greatly as they will be paid directly to assuage complaints about the huge debts owed to them.

Are you going to fill the country with Cuban doctors?

No that’s not true. We have about 120,000 doctors and, of course, we need more. Universities must make their efforts to train more doctors, but with those we have in the country, the system can defend itself because health does not depend only on the doctor, we are going to need psychologists, dentists, therapists, nurses managers. In this sense, in the country we have a staff that reaches about one million people.

Will insurance stop in the reform project?

No that’s not true. All Colombians can rest assured that amid health reform and transition, they will continue to be insured. In this case, social insurance is maintained, as well as its financing by the State. This does not change, but it will be strengthened so that said insurance has sufficient resources and in the places where the services are provided.

Will the health system be nationalized?

No, the health system will not be nationalized. It is funded by the state and always has been, it is not from this government. Today, health resources are collected in a public fund and that did not create this government. We must insist that clinics and primary care centers that are private and serve people continue to do so. The system can never be nationalized. I repeat, the delivery of the service in Colombia is mostly private, it must be protected and the Reform will do it.

How will integrated and comprehensive service networks be consolidated?

It is very simple. Today you are affiliated with an EPS, but you are really affiliated with the State through an EPS because ultimately it is the State that pays for all your treatments. Health being a fundamental right, you must register. Where do you register? Throughout the country, there will be primary, public, private and mixed health care centres. This may be the same as where you are currently being treated. We want there to be medical centers for 20,000 or 25,000 people, but in the scattered parts of the country, it could be the hospital that exists in the municipality. This primary health care center must solve almost everything and if something more specialized is needed, there will be a network for the provision of public and private services of a higher level of complexity to refer the patient.

Will people be able to freely choose their supplier?

There will be various options throughout the service delivery in a territory. In this sense, people will be able to choose whether they want to go to a private or public hospital. For example, if you want to wait a long time for an appointment in an entity of your choice or go to another where it is granted more quickly. What we want is for it to be as close as possible to where people live.

But today public hospitals have many problems, what to do with them?

We propose to modify the funding of hospitals in rural and dispersed areas. We cannot ask the hospitals of deep Colombia to survive by selling services. They must be open 24 hours a day, whether there are patients or not, because health is a fundamental right. In this sense, they must be financially compensated so that they can exercise their function, maintain the workers and have sufficient supplies.

Will prepaid medicine disappear?

No, that and voluntary insurance will continue.

How is the renovation project going?

This reform project, which is being drawn up with the participation of civil society, is currently undergoing legal examination and will be brought to the attention of the Presidency of the Republic for subsequent public dissemination and discussion that a such measure deserves. Of course, you can have changes. It’s not written in stone

What are the pillars of this reform?

The five major themes are: primary health care as a fundamental axis of the system; laborization and unification of health workers; create a transparent public information system to know the flow of resources in the health system and be able to make public policy decisions; overcoming the financial intermediation of the system so that there is a direct flow in payment to public and private providers; human empowerment policy; science, technology and innovation policy, and we’re going to touch on the whole issue of drug price regulation.

The WHO assembly recommends the local production of drugs. What about that?

The country must find a way to produce drugs to solve specific problems. It is a task in which we are engaged. We are looking for partners to manage the national production of vaccines, drugs for neglected diseases. Hand in hand with the private sector.

Can Colombians sleep peacefully?

Yes, completely.

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