The administration of the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS) aims at the sustainability and stability of its resources. Expenses of around $ 160 million will be reduced due to fewer referrals to private clinics.
Three months after taking office, the president of the Board of Directors of IESS, Manolo Rodas, spoke with EL TELÉGRAFO newspaper about his plans to guarantee the sustainability of social security.
One of its first actions was the publication of actuarial studies until 2016 that were in reserve. Now await the results of new analyzes to take action.
How is the development of the new actuarial studies progressing?
The new study is being done with the IESS actuary and then it will be audited with an external company. We also decided that universities should intervene, so we signed agreements with the National Polytechnic University, the Polytechnic of the Litoral and the State University of Cuenca, which will allow them to review the studies.
The reports will reflect the conditions of the IESS, especially the pension and health fund, and will allow us to propose measures of sustainability.
When will you conclude?
We hope that during this year we conclude with the studies of two funds mainly: pensions and health because they are the funds that, according to the actuarial study now public, have greater problems in the long term.
How much does the restitution of the 40% contribution from the State contribute?
Since the elimination of this contribution in 2015 to date, social security stopped receiving $ 3,500 million. Now that it has been restored, starting next year, it should be included in the General State Budget about $ 1,400 million. This determination of the Constitutional Court will allow the pension fund to have liquidity to comply with the payment of pensions.
Are the funds for the $ 100 pensions of the Peasant Insurance guaranteed?
It is an offer fulfilled and with financing. Without the contribution of the State, the fund had sustainability for 14 years. Now with the return of resources, which injects $ 38 million per year, sustainability was extended to over 20 years.
What is the progress of the optimization plan that aims to reduce spending by $ 470 million this year?
The austerity plan has not been applied in health care or in procurement processes for supplies, medicines or repowering of health units. The cuts have been in advertising, office cleaning or communication.
The necessary controls have been put in place so that all the funds are well managed and if a significant investment is required, it must undergo a prior evaluation. Optimization also occurs in referrals that have already decreased, as a result of growth in health areas. The project is that the new hospitals that have been built, about 12, are at 100% capacity of medical personnel and supplies and for this year they will decrease $ 160 million.
Also this year we will not execute the plan for new hospital units, which means around $ 170 million. Yes, we are going to reinforce the 40 units of the Rural Social Security and the Carlos Andrade Marín Hospital will be finished.
What other proposals are analyzed for sustainability?
Those that suggest that the exercise of social security rights be financed. In the course of the next months and once the actuarial studies are made, we will generate debates and propose some measures. I do not want to advance by virtue of the fact that the studies are updated first. I want to clarify that there is no proposal to increase the age to retire; we are committed to paying punctually pensions and comply with health benefits.
What is the proposal to transfer the IESS pharmacies to the private administration?
The proposal consists in optimizing and giving better service to the affiliates. We will apply a pilot plan in the next few weeks at the Los Ceibos Hospital in Guayaquil to observe the logistics system and distribution to our pharmacies. We want to have the support of the best companies in the country for the management of warehouses and distribution. On average, a hospital has three distribution pharmacies and these are handled from the warehouse. We have distribution and medication control problems from there to the delivery points to the affiliate.
The process is a constant complaint of the members, how will it improve?
We are working on a strategic plan for the institution so that internal procedures improve. We are also taking actions with the services area to implement the interaction of our databases with those of the Civil Registry with an investment of $ 4 million to improve the technological infrastructure, something that had not occurred in at least nine years.
Is the attention to the children of affiliates also analyzed?
Health is everyone’s right. The care of the children of the minor members in the last five years has meant $ 1,000 million. I think the correct thing is to find a balance between the exercise of law and financing. We have cases of patients who activate the judicial system for a drug that is out of the basic picture and the judges order to buy that medicine, in some cases and for a single patient, it costs between $ 300,000 and $ 400,000 a year. We have 21 cases and this is a fact that concerns us. (I)