New hospital rates put ‘on hold’-A A +A
Sunday, September 22, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Provincial Board passed a resolution putting on hold or suspending the implementation of "exorbitant" rates at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital (JBLMRH), and called for a review if the medical facility "violated rules and procedures" in increasing its fees.
The Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office will also create a task force to review the billing system and the reported "exorbitant rates" at the said hospital.
In an en banc hearing at Capitol presided by Provincial Board (PB) committee on health chair Crisostomo Garbo over the weekend, it was found out that JBLRMH had the highest rates for medical services among government hospitals in the region, with fees reportedly having doubled.
"Biruin mo ang normal delivery dati P3,000 lang, ngayon P7,000. Ang caesarian section dati P7,000 lang, ngayon P19,000," he added.
This increase, according to hospital officials, was the effect of the P160 million overhead of the facility.
Dr. Nicolo Ganac, along with other executives of JBLMRH, admitted that they had implemented the new set of hospital rates and charges to cover the operational expenses of their hospital.
He said that JBLMRH is spending at least P165 million for its operations and they are only getting P42 million from the National Government.
Ganac explained that the basis for the new rates and charges is in line with the provisions of Republic Act 10352, Republic Act 325 and Executive Order 197 series of 2000.
However, Garbo and Board Members Rosve Henson, Nestor Tolentino, Teddy Tumang, Anthony Torres, Ricardo Yabut, Cherry Manalo, Salvador Dimson, Jr. Melchor Pingol, Art Salalila, Mike Tapang and pre-tempore officer Dinan Labung said it should not be the case since such a shortfall should not be taken from the patients and could not be shouldered by Capitol even with its subsidy of P30 million to P40 million annually.
Garbo said the Provincial Government has allocated some P30 to P40 million for the said hospital, to support the medical needs of the people who are seeking the help of the Capitol.
"We have been put in bad light and you cannot blame us at Capitol because in our opinion, this has been abused and some rules seemingly violated like the non-publication of the increase in rates in papers of general circulation, aside from formally communicating this to us. Our marginalized constituents come running to us. And like you perhaps, we want to look after their welfare too," said Garbo.
DOH-Central Luzon director Leonita Gorgolon, in her reaction, said that she will immediately create a task force to look into the concerns of patients and Capitol.
"First, the task force will review JBLRMH’s operations. Then it will review its rates and system of billing, plus see if there were violations of procedures like publication of this according to law. At the end, we hope to be of help in resolving the concerns and issues and come up with standardized rates," she said.
Henson doubted the validity of the new rates after Ganac admitted that they were not published in a newspaper of general circulation.
"Technically, the change of rates cannot be enforced. The lack of publication would affect its validity," he noted.
Henson said that since rates could not be rolled back, these "maybe better suspended" until the task force completes its review and submitted to the next hearing this week. His resolution calling for the suspension of the increased rates was immediately approved by the PB after being seconded by Tolentino, who also called for an increase in discounts for indigent patients confined at the hospital.
JBLRMH officials welcomed the development and agreed that procedures will be corrected if the task force makes its recommendations, including adjusting rates to appropriate and standard amounts.
"You can be rest assured that all patients, especially the poor, will continue to be taken care of," they said.
Garbo agreed and emphasized that Capitol is one with JBLRMH in looking after the welfare of indigent Kapampangans needing proper health care.
"We are all public servants and at the end of the day, our constituents look up to us for the services they need. Let us work together for their welfare," he concluded.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 23, 2013.