Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 10am

1 in 5 patients unhappy with IMSS service

Surveys carried out by the Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS) in recent years show that around 80 percent of those covered in the national health-care program are satisfied with the service and treatment they receive.

One out of every five users, however, is unhappy with various aspects of the service.

The annual surveys have been carried out each year since 2007 in the months of June and November. Nationally, around 40,000 patients are interviewed – ten percent of them from the state of Jalisco.

The three chief complaints in Jalisco are:

- Delays in obtaining medical appointments.

- Shortage of medicines prescribed by doctors.

- Rudeness and indifferent treatment from IMSS personnel.

In a recent interview with El Informador newspaper, IMSS Jalisco Delegate Benito Carranco said IMSS pharmacies last year were able to complete 96 percent of prescriptions, compared with 82 percent five years ago. He called the  shortage of medicines a “logistical” problem rather than a financial one.

Carranco said on average IMSS doctors in Jalisco write 1.1 million prescriptions each month and only 40,000 cannot be fully completed.

He said lack of personnel is the main reason for the perception that staff are indifferent to the needs of users of the service.

The federally-run IMSS has undertaken massive reforms in recent years, including restructuring its pension program.  Nonetheless, a large percentage of its budget still goes to paying the full pensions of former employees, many of whom were able to retire in their 50s after just 25 years of service.  This continues to restrict necessary investment in the health-care program, which covers 4.4 million people in Jalisco, around two-thirds of the population.

IMSS doctors in Jalisco undertake 10.5 million consultations each year and perform 105,000 surgeries.  Some 2,300 beds in 19 hospitals are full on a constant basis. The annual budget is 15 billion pesos (1.2 billion dollars).

Mexican law obliges all full-time employees (i.e those on payrolls) to be enrolled in the IMSS. The employer pays most of the IMSS contribution, while the employee kicks in a smaller amount. Individuals, including foreigners with residency status, may purchase IMSS insurance at very reasonable rates compared to private healthcare plans.

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