The Government of President Nayib Bukele has implemented an exception regime that has resulted in the Ministry of Health (Minsal) saving over $60 million by no longer providing medical care for victims of violence-related injuries in public hospitals. This regime has allowed the government to redirect resources towards other areas of healthcare and improve overall public healthcare.
According to Health Minister Francisco Alabi, the exceptio regime has had a positive impact on the healthcare sector as it allows for the reorientation of resources towards other public health issues and the improvement of healthcare provision to the general population.
“The measurable fact is the monetary aspect. There has been a $60 million reduction in the investment of the Ministry of Health by not having to attend to gunshot or stab wounds. There has been a monetary reduction in medical services investment due to the decrease in acts of violence, one year after the exceptional regime was implemented,” said Minister Alabi.
In previous years, emergency units would receive an average of four patients with gunshot or stab wounds per 24-hour shift. However, this is no longer the case.
Minister Alabi also noted that the cost of treating a patient with a stab wound was around $23,000, only for emergency care and not including the long-term physical and psychological trauma caused to the victim. Victims of stab wounds reported being attacked for visiting areas “they did not belong to.”
In the case of gunshot wounds, pre-hospital and emergency care costs per patient were around $32,000.
“We can confidently say that we do not receive any patients with gunshot wounds in our emergency units. All of this benefits the healthcare system,” added Minister Alabi.
He stressed that security is linked to a country’s development since security allows for investment in other areas such as healthcare and education, benefiting the population as a whole.
Furthermore, he explained that the savings in healthcare resources could be invested in improving healthcare provision, such as chronic disease management and medication supply.
“The decrease in gunshot and stab wounds allows us to use the economic resources for other types of care, such as medication. If we save that million-dollar amount on violence-related issues, it allows us to have greater coverage in medication, vaccinations, and chronic degenerative disease management,” explained Minister Alabi.
In conclusion, the exceptional regime implemented by the Government of President Nayib Bukele has resulted in significant savings for the Ministry of Health, which can now be redirected towards improving healthcare provision to the general population. This is a positive step towards achieving better healthcare outcomes for the people of El Salvador.