ARCHIVE: Published Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Social Security reported that during the 8-day union strike, 223,762 medical appointments were scheduled, of which only 140,890 were completed. Of the 3,341 surgical procedures scheduled only 1,677 were performed. / Social Security Union courtesy photo.

Social Security to survey service qualifications

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If you want the Social Security authorities to know your opinion about medical services, this is your opportunity to do so.

Social Security will develop a survey campaign for its patients, which will run from September 15th to November.

According to information provided by the Comptroller of Services, the survey will canvas 17,511 people who use medical consultation services. And, include the 3,206 patients who are hospitalized in the country.

According to Patricia Salas-Chacón, director of the Comptroller of Services, the goal of these surveys is to measure the level of patient satisfaction, "it is necessary those surveyed be as honest and transparent as possible," she said.

The information collected by the survey will be used to create plans for improvements and provide better service to the patients.

According to Social Security, the survey will be performed by phone calls to patients or by interviewing patients directly in clinics.

The authorities warn the public that no bank details or information about computer passwords will be requested. They advise patients to be alert to possible false calls from scammers under the pretext of this survey.

It is important to clarify that no public institution should call its customers to request sensitive data such as passwords to computers or bank account information.

In the case of the Social Security survey, only questions related to the level of satisfaction with the medical services provided by the institution will be asked.

The questionnaire is about patients or member opinions regarding service quality, infrastructure, employee capacity, and confidence, among others.

Social Security representatives will be located on a stand, inside the clinics and hospitals to do a direct survey to people. Another group of representatives will handle patient phone surveys.

According to Mario Ruiz-Cubillo, Social Security Medical Manager, the institution expects to achieve a rating of more than 90 percent on the service quality questionnaire from patients, based on 100 percent as the highest level of patient satisfaction.

According to Social Security, this survey campaign is being carried out as a result of the commitments when they assumed a loan from the World Bank.

A.M. Costa Rica reported on Monday, Comptrollers ruled the recent agreement between Social Security and the Unions to stop the union strike annulled.

In August President Carlos Alvarado explained why this controversial agreement was approved by the government.

According to the President, the government's priority was to stop the strike that affected more than 120,000 patients due to a lack of medical attention. "If this strike had continued, the figure would have continued to increase," said the president.

Concerning claims from the business sector about the privileges that Social Security employees receive, President Alvarado said there are some regulations being applied in accordance with the Law on Strengthening Public Finance.

According to the government, regulations for Social Security employees are a reduction in severance payment from 20 to 8 years. The extra annual fees were reduced from 5.3 to 1.9. The exclusive dedication payment was also reduced.

Severance payment, annual payments, and exclusive dedication payments are also part of the extra salaries that Social Security employees receive.

According to the government, these extra wage benefits are the result of agreements between the Union and previous governments, to stop the strikes of 1982, 1985, 1990, 1999, 2004, and 2007.

These salary privileges approved in the past "are what we are trying to solve today," said President Alvarado.

However, the Comptroller's office has now ordered the agreement canceled.

On August 14th, Social Security reported that during the 8-day union strike, 223,762 medical appointments were scheduled, of which only 140,890 were completed. Of the 3,341 surgical procedures scheduled only 1,677 were performed.

A strike will only result in increasing delays for patients on the list who are waiting for medical services.

In April, the court gave Social Security 6-months to reduce patient waiting lists in hospitals.

The Constitutional Court Chamber ordered Social Security to design an integrated management system to reduce the "disproportionate and unreasonable deadlines patients should expect in hospitals," said the ruling. It has 6-months to approve a design.

The problem is that it represents a systematic and repeated violation of the right to health, said the court.

To follow up on compliance with this ruling, the Constitutional Chamber set a public hearing for November 14th, in the Supreme Court of Justice. On that day, the authorities of Social Security must present the advances and actions developed.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate services provided by Social Security? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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