Municipality Now Collecting Hospital’s Garbage

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In early March, the Constitutional Court ordered that the Municipality of Nicoya should pick up the ordinary garbage generated by the La Anexion Hospital. This was because the municipality stopped collecting garbage from the medical center since they didn’t separate the ordinary garbage from the hospital wastes. 

The medical director of the hospital, Dr. Jorge Fonseca Renault, assured that now the garbage from the hospital is properly separated. “The infectious wastes are transported to Esparza where there is a destruction area, but the infectious portions are removed from small things like gauze and cotton and it converts into normal garbage,” explained the medical director. 

  VON consulted the medical manager of Costa Rican Social Security (CCSS), Dr. Maria Eugenia Villalta, and she affirmed that she knew that the waste selection was not taking place correctly, “but the institution has a standard, and right now, yes, they have been sorting it, but if they weren’t doing it before it was an omission of the authorities, because it has to be sorted.” 

Muni Charges But Hospital Says They Are Not Obligated to Pay

Although the municipality resumed ordinary garbage pickup prior to Semana Santa (Holy Week), the mayor’s office maintains that they will keep insisting on billing, just as other state institutions do.   But Dr. Fonseca indicated that he had consulted the Attorney General of the Republic and the response was that the CCSS doesn’t have to pay any type of tax to any municipality, opening a legal door for no hospital to pay the municipalities. In light of this, a legal interpretation from the Administrative Contentious Court will be awaited.  However, the mayor of the municipality, Marcos Jimenez, is convinced of the opposite and questioned, “If the hospital doesn’t pay the telephone bill, does ICE (the Costa Rican Electrical Institute) leave the phones on?” Jimenez affirmed that the same court authorizes them to bill the CCSS for garbage collection services and that what is charged is not a tax but rather a tariff rate.  

For her part, the manager of the CCSS was emphatic in saying that they do have to pay the municipality. “What we really have to do is just a procedure: pay. We do have money. The authorities need to be consulted to see what the motive for the holdup is. Fonseca and the mayor have to solve the problem. It pertains to them. If they don’t agree, then yes, the medical management would get involved,” concluded Villalta.