Abuses in private hospitals
"They have remained profit-oriented."
We certainly wish the country’s healthcare system had been more capable in confronting a pandemic like COVID-19.We sure wish that drastically improved public health services were part of changes brought by the Duterte administration.
Unfortunately, private hospital services have remained profit-oriented amid the continuing COVID crisis.In a number of cases, the agony of COVID-19 patients is further aggravated by the abuses of some hospitals in terms of charging various fees for their services.
I have received numerous complaints from COVID-19 patients over the questionable practices of private hospitals.
One nurse acquired COVID-19 while working at a known private hospital in Parañaque City and got confined in the same facility.
She sought my help after her own hospital employer refused to honor her PhilHealth card and required her to pay her P100,000 hospital bill in cash.
My investigative news team went to look into the case of the frontliner and questioned the policy of the hospital, which is clearly illegal.
Only then did the Parañaque City hospital agree to accept her PhilHealth card.
Another COVID-19 patient complained that a private Quezon City hospital refused to accept her PhilHealth card, “for being a senior citizen and believed to have poor memory and [to be] disoriented.”
In Bacoor, Cavite, another private hospital refused to provide ambulance services to a COVID-19 patient needed to be transferred to a Metro Manila hospital, claiming it is “prohibited” by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
Only then did the said institution acquiesce to transport the poor patient -- but not before his family was required to pay P200,000 bill for two-day confinement.
Included in the said charges were the cost of PPEs, gloves, aerosol, and cleaning materials to disinfect the room he used.
The cost of hospitalization of COVID-19 patients is simply beyond the reach of most Filipinos especially those displaced by the massive unemployment and business stoppage.
Indeed, the cost of hospitalization, as much as the horror of the disease itself, scares poor people, even discouraging many from getting tested for COVID-19.
These are but a few of the abuses reported committed by medical institutions, both public and private alike.
We have heard about private hospitals rejecting patients who could not pay a deposit for admission.
There have been many cases of hospitals “hostaging” patients and even cadavers for unpaid bills.
These excesses of greedy and shrewd hospital operators are no different from the PhilHealth mafia crocs who tinkered with billions of pesos in contributions of poor Filipino workers.
They clearly violate the provisions and spirit of “We Heal As One” according to the Bayanihan Law that aims to tide us over the worst of public health emergencies.