The Special Action Group to Combat Organized Crime (Gaeco) of the Public Ministry of Tocantins, with the support of the Civil Police, performs this Tuesday morning (15) an operation at the General Hospital of Palmas (HGP). The action is to investigate a skip-the-line scheme within the unit. The suspicion is that doctors would be charging patients money to perform surgeries. Four people were arrested, including two doctors and a physical therapist.
- See who are the imprisoned health professionals
Several agents participating in Operation Bethesda went to the hospital to fulfill warrants. One group went to the administrative area of the unit and collected medical records. The State Health Department reported that it “does not condone any form of corruption or interference, and will spare no efforts to prevent such actions”. Read the full note below.
The negotiation scheme took place while thousands of people who depend on the Unified Health System (SUS) were waiting for some surgery. In December 2021 more than 7 thousand people were in line. In the same month, one patient died while awaiting a procedure. Remember the situation at the end of the report
The state secretary of Tocantins, Afonso Piva, was at the scene and said he contributed to the operation. In an interview with TV Anhanguera, he said that the Health Department was not aware of the scheme within the unit and that the internal affairs department will also monitor the situation.
“We found out now in the morning of the operation and went there. We have an internal affairs department. We are going to file a case with the internal affairs department regarding the servers together. We are interested in doing what is right,” said the secretary.
Health Secretary talks about Civil Police and Gaeco operation at HGP
What does the State Department of Health say?
Regarding the police operation that took place on the morning of this Tuesday, 15, on the premises of the General Hospital of Palmas to the detriment of some of the unit’s servers, the Secretary of State for Health (SES-TO) informs that it is at the disposal of the Special Action Group to Combat Organized Crime (Gaeco), of the Public Ministry of Tocantins (MPE), the Civil Police and the judiciary itself, to provide all clarifications – that are pertinent to the Ministry – on the operation that investigates the possible scheme of improper collection within the Palmas General Hospital (HGP), for surgeries.
The Secretary of State for Health, Afonso Piva, and the director general of the Unit, Leonardo Toledo, followed the “Operation Betesda” giving full support to elucidate the facts. The Agents had access to the requested documents, as well as medical records and other documents related to patient referrals and procedures. At the same time, the manager ordered the immediate opening of an investigation – to be opened by the health internal affairs department – in order to investigate the facts, logically obeying the principle of full defense of those investigated.
The Government of Tocantins reaffirms the management’s commitment to zeal in the provision of public health services, which are completely free. Finally, SES-TO reiterates that it does not condone any form of corruption or interference, and will spare no efforts to prevent such actions in public management in Tocantins.
Medical records are seized at the HGP during the operation — Photo: Gaeco/Tocantins Public Prosecutor
Palmas General Hospital is the largest public health unit in Tocantins, receiving patients from several cities. They often complain about the delay in carrying out procedures. Because of the pandemic, elective surgeries were suspended and only resumed in October 2021.
In December last year more than 7 thousand people were in line to perform some surgery by SUS in Tocantins. In January of this year, a patient who had been hospitalized for 120 days awaiting surgery still did not know when she would undergo the procedure.
Another patient died while waiting for elective surgery at the HGP. Antônio Carlos Carvalho de Lima was 57 years old and had been waiting for the procedure for several months. At the time, the worker’s son regretted the situation.
“My father, when he arrived, he was able to perform the surgery, although the condition was serious. But they simply neglected, refused. What happened to many and that I never imagined would happen to me happened. And I wonder how many will be next”, says his son, Rafael Santos Lima.
Civil Police and Gaeco operation investigates queue-jumping scheme at Palmas General Hospital — Photo: Betânia Sousa/TV Anhanguera
See more news from the region at g1 Tocantins.