New government agency will monitor quality of public and private health care
A new department of Ecuador’s Ministry of Health has been assigned the task of making sure the country’s health care system, both public and private, is providing high quality service.
The Agency for Quality Assurance of Health Care, created by the National Assembly and a decree signed by President Rafael Correa, will monitor public and private health care facilities and health care plans, to insure they are providing acceptable levels of professional service.
The agency will have the power to grant, suspend, cancel, and reinstate operational permits to medical clinics, hospitals and nursing homes. The agency will also monitor advertising and promotional campaigns of private health care institutions to make sure claims and offers are accurate and justifiable.
The Ministry of Health said the agency will have the authority to establish price controls of health care services if it feels they are needed. It emphasized, however, that such controls will only be used if circumstances dictate. The ministry said that “malicious rumors” have been circulated by government opponents via social networks that the government plans to impose widespread cost controls. “These rumors should be ignored,” said the ministry. “There are no plans for this at the current time.”
According to the ministry, the new agency will headed by a board of directors that includes Health Minister Carina Vance, Rene Ramirez, director of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, and Cristian Castillo, Secretary of Public Administration.