Help build our city hospital-A A +A
Saturday, August 2, 2014
AFTER the Department of Health downgrade from a Level 2 to a Level 1 facility, the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) can no longer handle major surgeries. They have to refer these cases to other capacitated hospitals.
The trouble is that the private hospitals charge higher rates. The P25 thousand in medical assistance that each qualified patient is entitled to receive under the City Hospitalization and Medical Program (Champ) will not be enough to cover the cost of a major operation.
The only hospital whose rates are affordable is another government institution–the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC). The problem was that the VSMMC had long refused admission to patients with Champ cover. The reason: the city has unpaid bills amounting to more than P3 million.
Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella thus immediately sought a dialogue with the hospital administrator, Dr. Gerardo Aquino, to assure the hospital that the city government was ready to pay the bills if the required supporting documents were submitted. To his credit, Aquino immediately re-opened the hospital’s doors to City Hall’s patients.
Labella heaved a sigh of relief. Labella said that the downgrade was expected after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Cebu last Oct. 15 drove the hospital out of its building, which has since been demolished.
But while it is not surprising, the downgrade is nevertheless still embarrassing.
There’s not much we can do about why the CCMC building was not built to withstand a strong earthquake. And we have to do something more than blame God for sending down that shocker. We have to take the destiny of the CCMC and our bruised sense of dignity into our hands.
How? By improving on the lukewarm response we gave to appeals for donations to the fund to rebuild the CCMC. Immediately after they decided to tear down the old building and build a much modern one, City Hall launched a fund drive. But they collected very little when you consider the number of wealthy people who live in our midst.
It is very disappointing. These people chose to live in Cebu or made money in Cebu because the conditions made it convenient for them to establish business or residence here. Isn’t it about time that they do some repaying for everything that Cebu gave them? Whatever happened to social responsibility?
It’s not too late though to re-discover one’s conscience. Help build our city hospital and speed up its upgrade from Level 1 to the highest category that the Department of Health could imagine.
My friend and fellow lawyer, Dodong Delute, must really be determined to pursue his campaign to have city officials administratively sanctioned for their respective roles in the grant of calamity assistance to City Hall officials and employees last year.
Last Friday, Dodong had his side published in an ad in SunStar Cebu. It must have cost him a little fortune; this paper charges about P26 thousand for a full-page ad. If the purpose was to attract attention to Dodong’s cause, the money was well spent.
Delute did score some points when he cited a Commission on Audit report that allegedly found the calamity assistance to be in breach of at least for laws and regulations.
He did not say, however, that the expense has been disallowed. Labella, one of those whom Delute charged, explained to Frankahay Ta! (7 to 8 A.M., DYCM 1152 AM) also last Friday, that the COA report is still subject to a request for reconsideration and is therefore not final. Let’s see what COA’s final word is on the issue.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 03, 2014.