Doctors suspected of ‘jump-the-line’ scheme in the HGP would have charged up to R$ 3 thousand for surgeries in the SUS | Tocantins

Health professionals targeted by Operation Betesda, carried out on the morning of this Tuesday (15) and which had searches at the General Hospital of Palmas, are suspected of charging up to R$ 3 thousand to perform surgeries in the public network. The values ​​would have been asked to patients from Palmas and the interior who were awaiting procedures to treat situations such as hernias and gallbladder problems, for example.

The Justice decreed the temporary imprisonment for five days of four people:

  • Augusto Ulhoa Florencio de Morais
  • Idael Aires Tavares
  • Jorge Magalhães Seixas
  • Railon Rodrigues da Silva

Augusto Ulho’s lawyer said that he has already provided all clarifications to the Prosecutors who are investigating the case, answering all questions and renouncing telephone, banking, tax and financial secrecy to prove that he has no involvement with the crimes that are being cleared. He also said that he does not know the other investigated, having a strictly professional relationship with only one of them.

Railon Rodrigues da Silva’s defense said that he provided full collaboration, with great tranquility and serenity, and hopes that everything will be clarified very soon. He also said that he did not have full access to the records, which are confidential, and when he has, he will take a position.

Jorge Magalhães Seixas’ lawyer has not yet responded. The g1 is still trying to locate the defense of Idael Aires Tavares.

Civil Police and Gaeco operation investigates queue-jumping scheme at Palmas General Hospital — Photo: Betânia Sousa/TV Anhanguera

The investigation is carried out by the Special Action Group to Combat Organized Crime (Gaeco) of the Public Ministry of Tocantins, with support from the Civil Police. The operation was authorized by Judge Luiz Zilmar dos Santos Pires, of the 2nd Criminal Court of Palmas.

The scheme was revealed after the analysis of telephone intercepts authorized by the Justice. Searches were carried out at addresses linked to the four suspects in the cities of Palmas, Ponte Alta do Tocantins and Uruaçu (GO). The administrative sector of the General Hospital of Palmas, where the surgeries would have been performed, was also the target of the operation.

Civil Police and Gaeco operation investigates queue-jumping scheme at Palmas General Hospital — Photo: Betânia Sousa/TV Anhanguera

According to the complaint, the doctor Jorge Magalhães Seixas would be responsible for co-opting patients and intermediating the charges. Physiotherapist Railton Rodrigues da Silva would be responsible for receiving the money and passing it on to the other members of the group. Doctor Augusto Ulhoa would receive the bribe to perform the surgeries.

In the document there is no indication of the profession of Idael Aires Tavares, only the information that he would be responsible for referring patients from Ponte Alta do Tocantins to the HGP to carry out the procedures. Doctor Jorge Seixas was a candidate for state deputy in the 2018 elections and was not elected.

The state secretary of Tocantins, Afonso Piva, was at the HGP during the searches and stated that 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

Health Secretary talks about Civil Police and Gaeco operation at HGP

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.

Note from the Department of Health in full

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.

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