Sectors warn of risks of possible corruption in the health system of the reform

On Monday night, the presentation of the health reform was filed for the second debate, which will take place in the plenary session of the House of Representatives. For now, the tentative summons for the start of the debate is for this Thursday, June 1.

Although the speakers see this second stage with optimism, there are sectors that still highlight pending adjustments. A report by Transparency for Colombia and Así Vamos warns that the articles may have risks of corruption for the new system that is proposed.

The report was built from 67 cases of corruption registered between 2016 and 2020. One of the most relevant data is that the main irregularities in the current system are administrative, private and political, and have a cost of $1.63 trillion.

In addition, public servants were responsible for 46.2% of the corruption cases, while private actors played an important role in 37.3% of the cases. The most common crimes were entering into contracts without complying with legal requirements and prevarication by omission. On the other hand, 25% of the cases were related to irregularities in the supply of medicines.

Faced with these collected data, the report brings together a series of recommendations and warnings. For example, it is advisable to create a budget transparency strategy that involves all the sources that will finance the system. Another recommendation is to publish the contracting information associated with the National Health Equipment Plan.

“The reform can correct situations that have facilitated serious cases of corruption in the health system; However, the proposal being discussed by Congress is highly complex and requires concrete and strategic measures to avoid risks of embezzlement, politicization and clientelism in the system”, says Andrés Hernández, director of Transparencia por Colombia.

Another of the warnings lies in the high risk of political interference in the designation of Health Institutions, risks of territorial clientelism are also highlighted and it is warned that the extraordinary powers that will be granted to the President “should be sufficiently delimited”.

Regarding observations, the report indicates that the ADRES does not have the capacity for centralized management of resources of the entire system. It is also highlighted that the document is not completely clear on who the role of the Inspection, Surveillance and Control System falls on. And a fact exposed in relation to the scope is that, according to the entities that authored the report, there are not enough provisions to determine the scope of the audits within the system.

“There is a risk of lack of control over the payment of 80% of the resources that are delivered to the institutions that provide health services,” the report indicates.

However, not everything has been said, since Alfredo Mondragón, representative to the Chamber for the Historical Pact, points out that the exercise that has been implemented for months can allow fluidity in the approval of the following debates. “Surely there will be more proposals that we will have to review whether to accept or not, as well as new articles and specify other things”, he comments.

As Mondragón explains, the plenary will meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So, the path that remains for the reform lies in those sessions, “the most secure thing is that we start on Thursday,” he points out.

Regarding the time frame, The official indicates that it has been projected with coordinators and speakers that the reform should pass in the coming weeks.

“Taking into account that it is one of the most discussed reforms and that the Colombian people are waiting for its approval. The time has come for Congress, either it responds to the country or it frustrates the desires of the population for change”, complements the representative.

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2023-05-31 05:03:04