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Caja Intervenes at Nicoya Hospital for Administrative Mismanagement
The President of the CCSS said the hospital will never be privatized

By Cesar Blanco

The Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS or Caja) decided to intervene starting December 27 at Nicoya’s Hospital de La Anexión for administrative mismanagement that has developed. Therefore there will be a transfer of the medical and financial directors to other venues in order to establish another work team for a year or more, according to the needs of the institution.

This directive was recommended by the institution’s Medical Management, which used an internal audit report that brought to light the weaknesses of the second most important hospital in Guanacaste province, which looks after the health of some 250,000 people in the peninsular zone.

With the agreement, the medical director, Dr. Juan Jose Li Kam, was transferred to the Area of Health in ??Santa Cruz, while the administrative financial director Alvaro Rosales Canales will now work in the Area of Health in ??Puntarenas. Meanwhile, the new intervention team will be led by Dr. Jorge Fonseca Renault, instead of Li Kam, and Marco Antonio Calvo Barquero will be the administrative financial director.

An old acquaintance

Dr. Fonseca has already served as director of the Hospital de La Anexión between 1987 and 1989. He has a vast resume, highlights of which include a major in Health Services Administration from the University of Costa Rica, a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Health from the Central American Institute of Public Administration (ICAP), he worked in the Planning Division of the CCSS, and he was director of the Chorotega Regional Division and San Vicente of Paul Hospital in Heredia.

According to Dr. Maria Eugenia Villalta, CCSS medical manager, the decision aims to give new direction to the medical center and adapt to the present and future needs of the Nicoyan community as soon as possible; with an end to waiting lists in surgeries, consultations, better treatment of the insured by personnel and maximizing financial resources to make good use of the annual budget given by the institution.

It will not be privatized

Speculation on the streets of Nicoya canton, mainly among union and community leaders, was that the hospital would be privatized in the coming months, which even led to the development of protest movements. In the light of this situation, VON spoke with CEO of the CCSS Dr. Ileana Balmaceda, who totally denied this would happen.

“That version circulating in the Nicoya canton is false. Contrary to that we are in the process of strengthening the hospital. First, with the earthquake we changed  all of the roof tiles that had been distorted by the quake; after that we have this improvement project that is ready to go with the new hospital tower. Now we are improving management," said the chief.

Meanwhile, in terms of the number of medical plazas and so on, Balmaceda was clear in saying that hand in hand with the expansion of infrastructure will come an increase in the number of staff because there will be more services, an increased building area, and then these places will require medical nursing assistants, technicians, janitors, etc., which will take effect when the project is operating.

$35 million over four years

Currently, the CCSS maintains the bidding process for the construction of a modern hospital tower in the Nicoya Hospital with an investment of $35 million (17,500 million colones) over a period of four years, between 2013 and 2017, which also includes the refurbishment of the entire medical center today, except the Emergency Area (new building) and Maintenance.

There will also be a total renovation of the electromechanical systems, and the new five-story tower, with a construction size of 8,722 square meters, will house the services of General Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics and Neonatology, and the Administrative Area. According to architect Gabriela Murillo Jenkins, manager of infrastructure and technology at CCSS, next May the bidding will be defined in order to start with the work.

Finally, engineer Jorge Granados, director of the Architecture and Engineering Division (ICD), said that once construction starts the hospital will not cease operations, but will continue to work normally, without affecting services.


More Regional News

Repair Work Advances at Nicoya Hospital After Earthquake

The repair of damaged infrastructure in La Anexion Hospital in Nicoya, after the earthquake of September 5, 2012, has progressed 40% and it is estimated that it could be ready in May.

Proposal to Restructure Management of National Parks and Wildlife Refuges

The Ministry of Environment and Energy (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, SITRAMINAE) Workers Union and former Environment deputy minister, Mario Boza, announced that a new law aimed to restructure the management of national parks and wildlife refuges is being drafted.

TSE Pays Thousands of Dollars in Rent While Still Owing Rent to Municipality

Starting this year, the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE- Electoral Supreme Court) will pay 1,332,000 colones ($2,664) per month in rent for the offices of the regional branch in Nicoya.

Taxes on “luxury” homes skyrocket up to 10x after readjustment of property values

A readjustment to construction values, made by the Ministry of Hacienda (Tax department), caused the taxes on “luxury homes,” (homes valued at about $234,000 USD and above) to increase between 57%-160% for this year, depending on the type of home.

Chamber of Hotels Parts Ways from CANATUR

The Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH) separated from the National Chamber of Tourism, CANATUR, for differences regarding the internal organization and after finding out about the poor financial management of the administration.

Lack of Fire Hydrants Causes Problems for Firefighters

“To put out a fire I draw water from the river, the sea, a pool or the well of a friend or neighbor. Here there are no hydrants”, explained Jo Pinheiro, describing the dramatic situation the Nosara firefighters go through when they need water to extinguish fires.

Technical Closure of Nicoyan Cemetery Begins

They finally demolished the boundary wall of the current municipal cemetery, thus initiating the long awaited technical closure.

Costa Ricans Consume 3 Kilograms of Agrochemicals Per Year        

Costa Rica is currently one of the countries that uses large amounts of chemicals in its agricultural production, even using chemicals that are banned in other countries since they pose serious health risks.

New Regulations for Liquor Licenses Should Be In Place By Late January

The Municipality of Nicoya is in the process of applying the new regulation for the commercialization of licenses for alcoholic beverages.

Ticos in the United States: Living the American Dream Has Its Price

We walk from the train station toward a Guatemalan restaurant where we decide to have breakfast. It’s 11 a.m. on a summer day in August, a little late to be eating the first meal of the day, but Sandra, Miguel and Robert requested the day off of work to be with us, and they decided that before opening the doors to their private life, we should get to know each other briefly.

Pictures and News of the Month

The Voice of Nosara brings you a brief recap of December stories you might have missed.

Requesting Permission to Build Will Only Take 30 Days

In general, those who have taken the steps to build a house have had to exercise patience since the process of obtaining all the permits has taken from several months to a year or more in some cases.

Nicoyans Speak Out Against Planting Transgenic Corn in Guanacaste

Guanacaste cantons, like Abangares and Nicoya, are fighting to remain free of transgenic corn now that the company Delta and Pine is looking to plant modified international Monsanto seeds in the canton of Abangares. The controversy will be delayed until the end of February since the State National Biosecurity Commission requested more information about the product.

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