*Updated at 6:18 pm
The Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Goiânia suspended all elective services (consultations, exams and surgeries) this Tuesday (19). The strike is part of a national movement of more than 2,000 Brazilian Santas Casas and aims to alert to the possibility of permanent closure of health units.
The main claim concerns the amounts transferred by the Ministry of Health (MS) since 95% of the care provided by Santa Casa de Goiânia involves patients from the Unified Health System (SUS). General superintendent of the hospital, Irani Ribeiro de Moura explains that it is not a strike, but it is a kind of cry for help and the appointments that were scheduled were rescheduled. Still, some patients, including from the interior of the state, arrived at the unit and say they were not communicated.
Per year, the discrepancy between the amounts paid and the expenses of the philanthropic units exceeds R$ 10.9 billion. Since the beginning of the real plan, 28 years ago, the SUS table has been readjusted on average by 93.77%. To get an idea of the lag: in the same period the National Consumer Price Index (INPC) rose 636.07%, the minimum wage 1,597.79% and cooking gas 2,415.94%.
Consultations at BRL 10
“The Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Goiânia is responsible for over 70% of SUS care in the capital. We are the high-complexity hospital in the city and we work to offer quality care, because the population deserves to be well attended”, he says, noting that, in return, Santa Casa receives R$ 10 from SUS for a medical consultation.
The lag in the amounts paid made the philanthropic unit of Goiânia resort to bank loans and, consequently, increased its indebtedness, to try to close the monthly accounts.
Medication readjustment and delay in transfer
Santa Casa says that during the pandemic, the readjustment of medicines was very large and that there were situations in which the price jumped from R$ 1.90 to R$ 245.00. In addition, it states that there is a delay in the transfer of payments by the Municipal Health Department (SMS). In a note, the unit says that the Federal Government transfers the amounts to the municipalities 60 days after the provision of services, but in Goiânia, transfers to the hospital are taking more than 100 days.
“And all surgical cases that arrive judicialized at the Municipal Health Department of Goiânia are referred to Santa Casa, and not all of us are able to attend”, says the superintendent, emphasizing that she has already communicated this fact to the SMS, but the referrals continue to be done.
The SMS was sought by POPULAR this Tuesday morning. In the afternoon, the ministry replied, in a note, that it has made an effort to pay off contracts or agreements in the health area with its own resources. The SMS added about Santa Casa that the same happens with the health unit and that this month the SUS system presented a problem, which “led to the release of only part of the resources”. Finally, it said it was committed to finding a solution to the problem.
SUS is tripartite
The superintendent says that Santa Casa de Goiânia is working above capacity and that it is co-financing the SUS, when the opposite should happen. For her, if there are no immediate and consistent policies and investments by the Federal, State and Municipal Governments in philanthropic hospitals, they will hardly survive, leaving millions of Brazilians without assistance.
“The SUS table needs to be reviewed and more investment by the Federal, State and Municipal Governments is also needed, after all, the SUS is a tripartite system and the closing of philanthropic hospitals would cause chaos in public health”, says Irani Ribeiro de Moura .
800 daily calls
Daily about 800 people are seen at Santa Casa and, according to the unit, since last week, patients scheduled for this Tuesday (19) would have been informed about the new date, April 27. Even so, patients came from the interior of the state and claim that they were not communicated in advance.
Ruimar Pereira Borges, 69, left Cristalina at 1:30 am this Tuesday (19). His schedule had been scheduled since October 2021 and he says he was not notified of the stoppage. After traveling almost 400 km by bus, he was informed at reception about the national movement. “Do what? Now it’s time to wait, right? I left at 1:30 am, arrived in Goiânia at 5 am and now I’m going home without being seen,” he adds.
Leandro Silveira da Cruz, from Jataí, also arrived at the unit and was informed about the stoppage. “I’ve been waiting for six months for a cardiologist and now I’ve been notified. I still have dengue. I left there to come for my consultation with dengue and when I get here I come across this situation”.
“There may have been cases that the hospital was unable to notify and Santa Casa apologizes to patients, but none will go unattended. Today, despite the manifestation that affects elective care – exams, consultations, surgeries not scheduled for the date -, other procedures, such as oncology, emergency, blood bank, hemodialysis and surgeries that had already been scheduled, are normal. There was a patient who came from Jataí, unaware of the stoppage, but his appointment was rescheduled for today, at 2 pm,” the institution said in a statement.
*Updated to insert SMS response regarding transfers.