"What’s happening in Eastern Samar?"
What could be the vilest act in the world other than the government taking advantage of poverty-stricken patients? It is the government to whom the people entrust their faith.
In a set of documents provided to this writer, it seemed to appear Eastern Samar Acting Governor Marcelo Ferdinand Picardal has been making a killing out of the province’s impoverished patients.
The allegation against Picardal actually stemmed from a viral video of a patient claiming she was issued a prescription by a doctor of the Eastern Samar Provicial Hospital for a medicine which she was supposed to get from the hospital pharmacy. However, upon presenting the prescription to the pharmacy, she was supposedly told there was no medicine as they had no budget yet.
She was instead advised to just buy the the medicine from any drug store and submit the receipt afterwards for reimbursemet, according to the patient. But after three months of following up her reimbursement, she had to give up as the accumulated cost of her transportation fares was more than the amount shw was trying to recoup.
But accordig to the documents provided by a source to this writer, there were actually funds for medicine for indigent patients of ESPH. For 2018, ESPH was alloted by the provincial govermet P8 million for medicine. This was supplemented by another P15 million coming from the Office of the Governor.
So, the first question is: How come ESPH has no supply of medicine when it actually has funds?
The second question is: Who gets the reimbursement for the medicine of the patients who were advised to purchase their medicines from other drugs stores outside of the hospital? According to the source, this has been the practice at ESPH ever since Picardal assumed the post of governor.
In fact, according to the same set of documents, before Picardal assumed office, the Office of the Governor had no budget for assistance for medicines as everything was directly coursed to ESPH. But in 2018, he allotted his office P15 million for that purpose, and increased that to P18 million in 2019. Interestingly, Picardal reduced the budget for medicines of ESPH from P10.3 million in 2017 to P8 million in 2018.
Allotting budget for his office for assistance for medicines and yet no available stocks for patients who have to wait indefintely for reimbursements and eventually forced to abandon whatver amount they are trying to return? Who benefits from this modus?
Food provision for ESPH patients under the Picardal Administration is also questionable.
Based on the Department of Health Administrative Order No. 2016-0020, a patient is allocated P150 per day for meal or P50 per meal for a Level 2 Hospital, under which ESPH qualifies.
However, according to the documents provided to this writer, the actual budget released by the provincial governmet to ESPH was only P130,000 a month for 3,418 patients which translate to P38.03 per day per patient or P12.67 per meal. Just what nutritious meal can this provide for a patient?
For last, Picardal’s administration bragged that the provincial hospitals of Eastern Samar earned P164 million, of which 98 percent came from PhilHealth. This means PhilHealth reimbursed the food expenses of the patients accordig to the DOH standards. But why were the patients allotted only P12 per meal?
In fact, the provincial government allocated P1.8 million for patients’ meals for 2018 – P150,000 a month. So, why did Picardal release only P130,000 a month to ESPH? Where did the P20,000 a month go?
Just how low can a government official go? I have heard of allegations against public officials getting commissions for government contracts. But this is one of the rare times I have encountered accusations of a government official dipping his hand directly to funds intended for his impoverished constituents. If this is proven true, then this could indeed be the apex of corruption.