Society

Government slashes surgery reimbursements, leaving patients vulnerable

The Bolsonaro government has cut the reimbursement hospitals receive for performing surgical procedures on public health patients, causing backlogs for emergency treatment

surgery brazil
Patient risk assessment room in a hospital in Londrina, Paraná. Photo: Isaac Fontana/Shutterstock

On December 30, João Damásio Neto, 79, was admitted to a private teaching hospital in the São Paulo city of Sorocaba to treat a calcified heart valve. Two weeks later, he still has no idea when he will receive emergency surgery. A Sorocaba city councilor later launched a campaign requesting blood donations for Mr. Damásio Neto, but without surgery his heart could stop at any moment.

Mr. Damásio Neto’s treatment delays can be chalked up to a government ordinance issued on December 21, decreasing the reimbursement of private and philanthropic hospitals that absorb demand from Brazil’s public health system. 

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