Since he resigned from the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion, Iván Espinel Molina assures that he has continued to give master’s degree in Health in Guayaquil. And he’s taking up consultations at home, as a general practitioner.
The founder of the Force Social Commitment movement says that he has prepared his defense against one of the six special examinations that the State Comptroller’s Office made to the medical referrals of the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS). Espinel and more than 13 former IESS officials (including contract administrators, auditors and provincial deputy directors) are named in the reports for alleged overpayments to private clinics. Specifically, they are held responsible for the omission of control of the company R.DES Servicios Corporativos, an auditor contracted by the IESS, and for not forming medical teams to verify the bills.
A Comptroller’s report of August 2016 summarizes that there are USD 393,840,061.06 of alleged over-invoicing, to the detriment of the State. This data appears from the review of 173 638 medical care records, between July 1, 2012 and August 31, 2015. A charge hearing is scheduled for 8:30 today in one of the cases The Office of the Prosecutor of Guayas.
This, in particular, involves 20 people for the alleged payment in excess of USD 65 702 247.41 to a clinic in downtown Guayaquil. The acceleration of the investigations coincided with the departure of the official of the entity and with the denunciations of Abdalá Bucaram Pulley, who noticed irregularities in the management of Espinel in the IESS.
In 2010 Iván Espinel began his career at the IESS as a doctor at the Teodoro Maldonado Carbo hospital. In 2014, he held the Subdirectorate for the Control of Individual and Family Health Insurance.
The Office of the Comptroller indicates an alleged participation of the former candidate for the Presidency when he was deputy director, between March 26 and April 16, 2014. “But of the 1 156 days analyzed by the Comptroller General, I was only in office for seven days,” he states.
The rest of the time he had medical permission for health problems, according to the certificates he shows. The Comptroller’s reports name Espinel, other former IESS employees – one of them is currently in charge of a vice-ministry -, representatives of 12 private clinics and hospitals, and executives of the auditing company.
The Association of Clinics and Private Hospitals of Ecuador (Achpe) groups several of the centers investigated for signs of civil and criminal liability. Through a statement, its executive director, Ana Delgado, affirms that they asked the IESS to set up technical teams to verify and validate the results of the audit. Regarding the examinations, he stressed that “the members of Achpe have provided all the facilities during the investigation process and have provided the required discharge documentation”. The Office of the Comptroller blames the clinics for allegedly breaking the contracts by not presenting the documentation supporting their billing. About IESS officials indicates that they did not set up teams to supervise the audit tool and did not perform medical evaluations to verify the documents of care.
One of the observations of the control body is about the payments that were made, despite exceeding the prices established in the Tariff of Benefits for the National Health System, approved by the Ministry of Health.
Espinel says that the payment was not part of his powers. And that only had to meet delegations of the National Director of Health Insurance, his boss. However, despite his brief passage through the Control Subdirectorate, he explains that on April 2, 2014 he ordered a revision of the referrals and ordered the creation of a follow-up team to the Provincial Subdirections, in charge of the payment.
A day later, he asked for an instruction to increase control of R.DES Servicios Corporativos. According to the Comptroller’s reports, a knee arthroscopy, for example, was valued at USD 1 106.87 in the national rate. But on December 2, 2014 one was made in a clinic for USD 13 704.76, which represents more than what was established. Prosecutor Pedro Intriago will press charges at today’s hearing.
He investigates alleged embezzlement against 20 people. In Article 278 of the COIP, this offense is punishable by up to 13 years. The Comptroller’s Office produced seven reports involving Espinel (five in Guayaquil and two in Quito), but one was filed.
Today, the hearing for the formulation of charges is being conducted in an investigation against former Minister Espinel, for the payments and referrals of the IESS to private clinics. The crime that is investigated is embezzlement.
July 7, 2016
The former president of the Board of the IESS made public the examinations of the Comptroller. The agency detected irregularities in contracts with 36 health providers. August 26, 2016 The Comptroller’s Office issues a summary of several special exams, which includes 12 external providers of the IESS in Guayas detects a presumed surcharge.
November 22, 2017
Abdalá Bucaram Pulley goes to the Prosecutor’s Office to denounce Iván Espinel, for alleged inconsistencies in IESS contracts with clinics. December 12, 2017 Iván Espinel submitted his resignation to MIES. In his farewell he announced that he left office to campaign for the yes in the referendum and popular referendum in February. (I)