A medical chief denounces corruption in the privatization of resonances in Valencia | Society

The head of service of Radiology of the General University Hospital of Castellón, José García Vila, denounced on Monday an alleged case of "corruption" that affects one of the largest privatizations of the Valencian Community in the stage of government of the PP: the service of magnetic resonances, that a group of companies has been distributed during the last 20 years. García Vila reveals in his complaint to the Department of Health Universal a large gap between the billing that the concessionaire made to his department until 2008, when it exceeded four million euros a year, and what has billed since then, something more than two million, despite having increased the price of tests. And he sees after it an alleged "billing manipulation".

Eresa, the company appointed by the medical officer, rejects the accusations and ensures that the large differences are due to changes in the nature of the tests performed.

The Sindicatura de Comptes, the supervising body of the Generalitat concluded the last legislature that the public management of the resonances would have allowed to reduce the average cost of the exploration of the 257.1 euros that represented in 2012 to 108.3. The resulting annual savings estimated by the Syndicate ranged between 3.3 million and 16.7 million euros.

These numbers were applicable to the period of second concert of resonances, between 2008 and October 2018. The presumed irregularities denounced by the head of service imply, however, that the extra costs during the first concert, from 2000 to 2008, were much higher.

García Vila assures that the official data, which during "many years were opaque to the heads of service", reflect that Eresa billed the Department of Health of Castellón amounts close to or greater than four million euros per year. In 2006, 4.4 million. And in 2007, 4.6. The head of service maintains that the concert that was implanted in 2008 maintained the catalog of explorations and raised the price of the tests, while the total number of resonances practiced grew. Despite this, the turnover, instead of increasing, fell sharply after that year. According to the data of its denunciation, the concessionaire went on to invoice 2.4 million in 2008, 2.3 million in 2009 and 2.2 million in 2010. The only thing that, according to the medical officer, explains this sudden decrease are alleged "manipulations" in billing "in the period from 2000 to 2008, which considers that they may involve embezzlement of funds. The doctor notes that the same could happen in other Valencian health departments.

Change of catalog

Eresa was again awarded the magnetic resonance contest convened in 2008 by the Generalitat integrated in a Temporary Union of Companies - called Erescanner Salud - which led with 49% of the shares. A spokeswoman for Eresa, which is part of the Ascires Group, rejected the accusations made by the medical officer of Castellón and stated that the reason why the billing experienced a sudden decrease was that there was a change in the catalog of explorations.

Although the catalog maintained the same names as in the period 2000-2008, the tests did not include the same "anatomical regions," he said. For example: in the first agreement the company billed the resonance of one hand as a simple scan and the forearm resonance as another simple scan; as of 2008, however, the company included in a single image the hand and the forearm and invoiced it as a single exploration. The spokeswoman also argued that the techniques become cheaper over time, and that the company has already been investigated for five years by the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Treasury and the Comptroller's Office without proving any criminal activity.

The privatization of the resonances has been involved in the controversy since its approval in 2000. Professionals and scientific societies predicted that privatization would be more expensive and multiply the number of diagnostic tests. The Valencian rate of resonances, after a few years, doubled the Spanish average, according to the Sindicatura de Comptes.

A complicated de-privatization

The Valencian Government, composed of Socialists and Compromis, announced at the beginning of the legislature the reversal of sanitary privatizations. The management of the Alzira hospital and its health area occurred in April. On the other hand, the resonance service, whose 10-year concession ended in October, is becoming more complex and the Consejería de Sanidad Universal has been obliged to extend outsourcing for a few months.

José Vilar, who was head of Radiology service at the Peset Hospital in Valencia, the first public to have resonances in Spain and who has advised the Generalitat in the process, affirms that the privatization generated among doctors a culture of excessive request for diagnostic tests. . And reducing them at once would arouse complaints from patients accustomed to them and would have a political cost. Without reducing demand, the public sector can only absorb 70% of the resonances that have been practiced. The rest, although at a much lower price, will continue to be subcontracted at the moment.

The second reason that has led the Generalitat to postpone privatization has been to find the labor formula under which the public sector will absorb the employees of the concessionaire, who have been working in public hospitals for 20 years.


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