The Community of Madrid is evaluating the status of payments to private clinics to which it refers women who want to voluntarily interrupt their pregnancy in the region and admits that there are delays in some transfers. This is corroborated by sources from the Ministry of Health consulted by elDiario.es, which point out that the Madrid Health Service is currently “reviewing the situation of each of the hospitals to expedite the payments that remain pending.”
In the statistics published annually by the Ministry of Health, and whose latest edition was made public this Tuesday, no public hospital appears as a center that has reported abortions in 2020 in the region. The modus operandi It is to refer cases, even those in which there is risk to life, to the seven private centers that report interventions. The administration bears the cost, that is, the women do not pay for the intervention.
It is the prevailing model in Spain, where only 15% of abortions are performed in public centers. Some communities have opted for the establishment of concerts with the clinics, but in the Community of Madrid it is different: each hospital, depending on the health area to which the woman who attends the clinic belongs, “pays the amount of the interventions” Therefore, “there is no centralized payment from the Madrid Health Service,” says the agency.
However, “there may occasionally be delays in the payment of some bills for the provision of this service within the administrative process, but not in a generalized way in all hospitals,” explain the same sources, who do not clarify which hospitals are the ones that they are falling behind in payments. The Ministry of Health also recognizes that referrals from hospitals are produced “due to the conscientious objection of their professionals,” as evidenced by the testimonies of women who have been denied abortions in public hospitals, such as the woman who has had an abortion. tried at the San Carlos Clinical Hospital, a case reported by Cadena Ser.
According to the response that the Community gave to Vox after a request for information, published by El País, in 2016 the public coffers transferred 3.4 million euros to the seven clinics; 3.7 in 2017 and 3.8 a year later. To this are added the transfers paid to the Hospital Fundación Jiménez Díaz, which is separate because it is a subsidized hospital that belongs to the Quirónsalud group. They were 331,176.48 euros in 2016 and 325,886.40 in 2017.
Lorena Morales, PSOE deputy in the Madrid Assembly, denounced the situation last Thursday: “In the Community of Madrid we cannot have abortions in public hospitals. And the voluntary abortion clinics have not paid for months, putting them in check “, said the also spokesperson in the Women’s Commission and Secretary of Equality of the PSOE-M. Workers’ Commissions pointed to the same this Monday, on the eve of the Global Action Day for Legal, Safe and Accessible Abortion, in a statement in which they denounced that the community “violates the right of Madrid women to access the voluntary interruption of the pregnancy”. The union assures that the region “denies women the right to abortion in public hospitals” and, among other things, “does not pay for private clinics that carry out this intervention.”
The case of Madrid illustrates part of the obstacles that still persist in Spain in access to abortion and that motivate the reform of the law, approved 11 years ago, in which the Ministry of Equality is immersed. This same Tuesday the prior public consultation began, the official procedure with which the process starts. The objective is to guarantee accessibility, gratuity and territorial equity. And among other plans, the department headed by Irene Montero will regulate the conscientious objection of doctors by setting up a registry that makes it possible to clearly know what is happening in each hospital to reorganize services and allow women to access public centers.