Financial crisis and healthcare: the case of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Gisele O’Dwyer Leonardo Graever Fernanda Adães Britto Tatiane Menezes Mariana Teixeira Konder About the authors


This study aimed to portray the effects of the Brazilian financial crisis, and especially in Rio de Janeiro in the 2013-18 period. We analyzed revenues, expenditure, service provision, and health performance indicators from free access and restricted data. We adopted the Giddens’ Structuration Theory. Revenues and expenditures shrunk, and this reduction was higher for investments and unlinked revenues. The provision of services declined, resulting in decreased primary care coverage, outpatient production, total hospital admissions, number of beds, doctors, community health workers, surgeries performed, and hospital occupancy rate. An increase was observed in waiting times for ambulances, exams and outpatient visits, as well as the number of pending requests in regulation. Health and performance indicators remained mostly unchanged, within previous parameters, corroborating the care capacity of PHC, despite financial and structural contingencies imposed by austerity. The current situation threatens the right to health, and governmental response, such as unlinking revenues, point to an increased risk of this occurrence.

Key words
Public Policy; Primary Health Care; Healthcare; Healthcare Financing; Service Indicators

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