IPS shut down by Ministry of Health for sub-adequate care

The MInister of Health, Alma Solano Sánchez Photo: Government of Barranquilla

Any organization providing services to our citizens must be held to rigid quality standards. Consumers expect to be treated professionally with a broad degree of honesty, dignity and respect. This is ever so much more important in health-care, where clients often are infirm and are unable to take decisions for themselves. In these cases, we rely on the health services to adhere to a high standard of moral integrity and to do the right thing when necessary.

“One of the pillars of the Ministry of Health is strengthening the quality management systems of providers by monitoring and providing ongoing support in their certification processes.”

  • Alma Solano Sánchez, Minister of Health

Unfortunately, in some cases, administrative officials can lose perspective, making adjustments to the quality of their care based only on the consideration of cost, unintentionally degrading the ability of their organization to provide quality care. In the end, the patients suffer the consequences. In these situations, we rely on our government’s auditing machine to be cognizant and to effect positive change.

Such was the case this week with IPS Fundación Social Unámonos, a local psychiatric hospital which was temporarily shut-down by the Mayor’s office after auditors from the Ministry of Health identified several inconsistencies. Officials from the office of Quality Assurance, a sub-group of the Ministry of Health, were on-site at the hospital April 11th, performing a routine examination of the facilities and human resources capabilities when they found several violations of the minimum standards.

Although the specifics haven’t been released, we do know that the breaches surround a lack of capable staff, infrastructure challenges and problems with patient care. The organization was given a short period in which to transfer patients to another hospital and a decree that operations will remain closed until such a time as they can prove they have attained the standards necessary to provide quality care to Barranquilleros.

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In a former life, Mike was a corporate project manager in Canadian telecom. For the last 6 years, he has been traveling around Latin America, teaching English and writing. Mike now lives with his partner in beautiful Barranquilla.