Argentina

Original Editor - Ana Boyland

Top Contributors - Ana Boyland, Didzis Rozenbergs and Elaine Lonnemann  

Patient Access to Physiotherapy or Physical Therapy Services / Entry Point

Physical therapy in Argentina is involved with evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Patients are referred by orthopedic doctors, neurologists or by regular physician, but sometimes patients can have access to clinics and pay cash.Therapist are enrolled to primary care team involved in multiple roles including health promotion, preventive programs.

In Argentina, access to services largely depends on an individual’s income level. An individual may obtain health care through three predominant schemes: (i) public services in hospitals and state-run ambulatory care centers; (ii) insurance, including mandatory health insurance under the social security system linked to formal employment and “voluntary” private, or “pre-paid” insurance (“ppre-pagas ”); and (iii) directly through out-of-pocket payments to private providers.[1]

Therapist Preparation

Degree/Credentialing

In Argentina there are seven professional titles considered equivalent to “physical therapist”, with the most common being licentiate in kinesiology physiatria. The title used depends on where the individual graduated, and holders of any of the seven titles may be members of the The Argentine Association of Kinesiology (AAK).[2]

The Ministry of National Health requires a minimum of 2,500 hours in a four-year university course to be officially recognised. There are currently 19 universities offering such courses – in 17 of them, the course is five years long and students complete an average of 3,600 hours of studies.[2]

The requirements and the documentation requested for Argentine citizens are: complete an application online, personal interview require prior to registration, proof of completion of secondary education, photocopy of ID and  two 4x4 photographs.


Entry level physical therapy education programmes

Specialization

AAK members work in many environments across a range of sectors including academic, private, public and mixed.

Professionals in Argentina can enter postgraduate courses to get a speciality masters or doctorate degree. Many of these studies are completed together with other health care professional such as medical doctors and psychologists.

Specialisms in traumatology, orthopaedics, cardiology, respiratory care, paediatrics, neurology, sports, acupuncture and critical care have all been developed and achieved internationally recognised levels of excellence.[2]

Professional Associations

The Argentine Association of Kinesiology(AAK), a membership organisation, was founded in the early 20th century, before the first course of study was created at the University of Buenos Aires in 1937. In fact, the AAK holds the distinction of being the first association for the profession in the South America region.

The overall mission of the AAK is to provide information and defend members’ legal rights. It offers scholarships and permanent training, workshops, talks and seminars. It brings together teachers, professionals, graduates and students into one professional body.[2]

The Argentine Association of Kinesiology  has been approved as a provisional member of WCPT and The Latin American Confederation for Physical Therapy and Kinesiology


Information about the Patient Community

Physical Therapist serve a wide population from children to elderly patients.

Total population of Argentina is 40,412,000. Population living in  urban areas - 93%. Life expectancy at birth for males/females (years) 72/79. [3]

Estimated deaths per 100,000 population by cause (2004): Communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions - 103.5 (Infectious and parasitic diseases - 39.7, Respiratory infections - 41.8, Perinatal conditions - 15.2); Noncommunicable diseases - 617.4 (Malignant neoplasms - 157.8, Cardiovascular diseases - 256.7, Respiratory diseases - 73.9); Injuries - 48.0.[4]

Most Argentinians live and work in urban areas. About a third of the population lives in and around Buenos Aires. In small cities and the suburbs, people live in single-family homes, but in Buenos Aires, most people live in apartment buildings. The apartments have modern facilities, but rent and electricity are very expensive. Rent can take a large portion of monthly earnings for some families.

The 300,000 indigenous people in Argentina live in small rural communities or in the cities. One important group is the Wichí, who live in the marshy area near the river Pilcomayo in the north of the country and Mapuche in the Neuquén province. Although many indigenous Argentinians have preserved their traditional way of life, others have adopted a more European lifestyle.[5]

Social/Cultural Influences

Argentine culture is a unique blend of European and South American influences, Argentina has been called the most European country in South America, in Argentina the family is the center of the society's social structure,family plays an important role in patient's care, also participate in rehab team. In Argentina social class is the foundation for movement and influence within groups and organizations. Your social class, university affiliations, place oforigin, title or rank, position in the hierarchy, company you work for all of these indicate which social strata you belong to.[6]

There is no typical Argentinian family. Family life differs according to many factors, such as religion, region, ethnic background and income. Traditionally, fathers were considered the head of the family, mothers were in charge of the household, and young married couples lived with their parents in quarters built onto the house. Now, most Argentinians believe that women have the right to a career as well as marriage and family. Some families have hired help to do domestic chores. Young married couples usually find a place of their own rather than living with parents.[5]

Delivery of Care

Public Health Services

Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MSAS), the provinces, and certain large municipalities provide public health services through programs in the areas of: maternal and child care, women’s health, mass communication, education for health, reorientation of medical practice in the health services networks; promotion and protection of air quality, workers’ health; communicable disease prevention and control. Vaccination programs are coordinated with the various jurisdictions. Environmental health and health education are examples of areas with population-based interventions whose execution is coordinated with the jurisdictions.

Personal Health Services

Most personal health services are procured in the private sector, from which the Obras Sociales plans purchase services. MSAS has transferred the vast majority of its services to local jurisdictions, but maintains programs for the training of personnel, technical support, the preparation of standards, and the direct delivery of some services.[7]

Type of Health System

Health care in Argentina is overseen by the Ministry of Health. Medical care in large cities is generally good, but in smaller towns and rural areas, hospitals and other facilities may be lacking in modern equipment. Argentina's health service is divided into three sections:

  1. Goverment-funded health services.
  2. Social security financed through trade unions
  3. Private medical sector

The recent economic, political and social crisis affects health sector access.

Goverment funded Health Services

Public health care, which covers approximately 50% of the population, is funded by the Argentinian goverment.The Ministry of Health is responsible for public health services, government hospitals and medical services.Public medical institutions are free of charge for both nationals and foreigners. A patient's identification documents are required.

Social Security

In formal employement, both employers and employees are obliged to pay into a health insurance scheme organised by a trade union. This is the most common form of health insurance in the country. There are numerous schemes run by different unions, all overseen by the National Health Insurance Administration.The unions often do not provide services, but rather outsource to the private sector.This category includes" pre-paid insurance (" pre-pagas")

Private Medical Sector

In Argentina the private sector is thriving but fragmentary, with many establishments and individuals not affiliated with any organization. They provide care mainly to those with private insurance, or those who are part of a national health insurance scheme.

There are wide of private insurers to choose from, both national and international. Some private hospitals inlarge cities provide health plans which expratriates and residents can enroll in.Private health insurance premiums vary depending on age and family needs, as well as the risk that the insured person may represent. in general these companies do not cover pre-existing conditions.[1][8][9]

Payment System

Public hospitals vary in quality and efficiency, often making them an inferior option to private institutions. Services and treatment are free, though certain prescriptions need to be paid by the patient.There are many privates clinics in Argentina, mostly of a very high standard. Each insurance company provides a list of the hospitals and clinics covered by its scheme and usually indicates those where English-speaking doctors are available.Patients can make payments through out-of-pocket to private providers as well.Access to health services and medications  is limited, not only for people depending upon the public network, but also for those with insurance coverage.The primary reason for not being able to access health services is the lack of money to purchase medications or to pay the co-payments necessary for medical consultations and health services management (i.e. waiting lines, difficulties in making appointments, etc.).

Resources

WCPT Country Profile for Argentina

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTDSRE/Resources/261440AR.pdf
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 http://www.wcpt.org/node/37079
  3. http://www.who.int/gho/countries/arg.pdf
  4. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/estimates_country/en/index.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://www.argentour.com/en/argentina/argentina_family.php
  6. http://www.theelementsofpower.com/
  7. http://new.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments/2010/Health_System_Profile-Argentina_2002.pdf
  8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/expathealth/9133655/Expat-guide-to-Argentina-health-care.html
  9. http://www.who.int/health_financing/documents/argentina_cavagnero.pdf