Colombian Healthcare System: The Kickbacks



Several Colombian journalists have reported during the last years the problem of widespread bribery and corruption among some large EPS [Empresas Promotoras de Salud (Health Promoting Companies)] operating in the country. One example is Saludcoop, a name that for many people in Colombia is the synonym of a ‘corrupted EPS’, several reports of illegal practices by this insurer had motivated the intervention by the Colombian authorities, the company is currently under a liquidation process due to their growing debt.

A lawyer responsible for the liquidation of Saludcoop was recently incriminated in a conversation involving a kickback to another unionist (also a lawyer) affiliated to Unitracoop (union of workers of Saludcoop and other EPSs). The purpose of the kickback was to avoid any problems in the liquidation of this infamous EPS. The article of Daniel Coronell – one of the top investigative journalist in Colombia – is enlightening.

On the meanwhile, Dr. María Elena Guerrero still on a hunger strike since the last Thursday, the causes of her strike were the lack of payments during the last four months – despite a decision by the judge ordering Saludcoop to pay Dr. Guerrero wages. This is a case of reprisals against whistleblowing as well as intimidation of doctors affiliated to a trade union (*)

(*) Dr. Guerrero is the Vice-president of SIMUC (Sindicato Médicos Unidos de Colombia).

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