Spanish newspaper El País is reporting that International Care Patient Assistance (ICPA, previously Gestitursa), a third party associated with two of Barcelona’s main public hospitals, has been applying an extra fee when handling tourist patients’ bills, which can lead to a tripling of the official rate.
The newspaper alleges that it has seen a document relating to the bills of 1,615 tourists that it handled in Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar. According to El País, the centre received €852,000, based on the fees approved by its Advisory Board, but ICPA was found to have charged €1,805,000, more than double that amount. Although some of that money went back into the hospital, El País reports that €9 in every €10 went to ICPA.
The other hospital that ICPA is contracted to, Hospital de Sant Pau, has said that it does not know what the company is charging foreign tourists. El País’ investigations, however, have found patients that have been charged over three times the amount treatment should cost.
In the past, hospitals in Barcelona have defended the company, saying that it has insured the ‘vital payment for services rendered’.