Minister Carolina Corcho announced that a harsh measure against the EPS is being prepared, what is it about?

During a visit to the city of Palmira, Valle del Cauca, the Minister of Health, Carolina Corcho, attacked the EPS and pointed out that they are preparing a measure to make them comply with their obligations.

The senior official indicated that during the past year a robust budget allocation was made to the EPS on behalf of the capitation payment unit (UPC), the money that the State transfers annually to these entities for each of the patients that they have affiliated.

According to Minister Corcho, at the end of last year they agreed to the requests of these companies, which asked for an adequate increase to guarantee their management within the health system. However, for the minister, this has not been reflected in the financial management that the EPS have had in 2023.

“Faced with the issue of resources, an increase has been requested from the UPC, as requested by the EPS, but to date the EPS have not increased this transfer to clinics and hospitals,” said the head of the health ministerial portfolio.

In this sense, he announced that they are preparing measures together with the national health superintendent, Ulahí Beltrán. “The Superintendence (of Health) will issue a circular that forces this increase made by the government to be translated into payment to laboratories, clinics and hospitals so that they can care for patients”assured Minister Corcho.

The official’s statements are not, however, entirely accurate. Last year there was a strong bid between the national government and the EPS to define how much the UPC increase would be.

Higher School of Public Administration, ESAP.
The Minister of Health and Social Protection, Carolina Corcho, has stated that the EPS have sufficient resources to pay clinics and hospitals. – Photo: Higher School of Public Administration, ESAP.
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The EPS union had expressed strong concern because in a draft decree, the Ministry of Health showed that its intention was for the UPC increase to be 16.23% for the EPS of the contributory regime and 12, 22% for the subsidized. But the EPS considered that the increase should be set at 18%, taking into account factors such as the devaluation of the Colombian peso, inflation and the increase in the minimum wage.

Minister Corcho argued that the calculations made by the previous government regarding the budget allocated to the UPC could not be fully trusted, because that amount was calculated based on the analyzes made by the EPS themselves.

ACEMI Executive President, Paula Acosta Márquez.
Unions like Acemi, chaired by Paula Acosta, asked the Ministry of Health for an 18% increase in the UPC. – Photo: The Colombian Association of Comprehensive Medicine Companies, ACEMI

However, it received strong criticism because it did not publicize the criteria that had been used in the Ministry of Health to define that the EPS of the subsidized regime should receive an increase from the UPC of 12.22%, which was even lower than inflation. .

In the last week of December last year, the Ministry of Health ended up deciding that it would raise 16.23% to the UPC in both regimes. The decision gave the EPS a break (especially those that have the majority of their affiliates in the subsidized regime), but in any case it was a lower increase than what they were originally asking for.

In any case, Minister Corcho has indicated that the EPS have enough money to pay the clinics and hospitals with which they contract services and attention to guarantee access to health for patients.

Minister of Health and Social Protection, Carolina Corcho.
Minister Corcho has warned that the budget that is turned over to the EPS should be calculated independently. – Photo: Ministry of Health and Social Protection
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“It is clear that to the extent that the flow of resources stops due to non-payment of the EPS, public hospitals are limited to be able to assume their operating costs, pay their workers’ salaries and maintain their facilities with the necessary equipment. ”, The Ministry of Health pointed out through a press release that it published after the minister’s visit to Palmyra.

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