A PLAN to sell the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) was revived while City Hall tries to figure out how to deal with problems like complaints about poor service and the recent loss of checks from an insurance agency.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is not keen on selling the hospital, but said there will be changes in its management.

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But Councilor Jose Daluz III said City Hall should consider asking private managers to take over and selling 60 percent of the facility, with Cebu City retaining the other 40 percent.

“Without the private sector, it will be too difficult to improve the CCMC,” said Daluz.

Councilor Ronald Cuenco said he disagrees with the proposal to privatize the hospital, because it will impair access to services, especially for poor constituents who can’t afford health care. 

“We just need to improve its services, as well as the building itself, because there are structures in it that need rehabilitation,” Cuenco said.

Mayor Rama said the current CCMC head, Dr. Myrna Go, will be replaced soon. He, however, clarified the move is not due to the loss of 28 checks amounting to at least P240,000.

“I think she knows where she will be going. She has already told me during our conversation in the first few days when I assumed office nga di na siya ganahan mag (that she no longer wants to be) department head,” said Rama.

Cuenco declined to comment on the proposal to replace Go, whom he last saw at a meeting last Friday with the mayor.

“At that time, maayo man ang pag-meet namo, maayo man ang dagan sa among meeting. (The meeting went well.) We can’t recommend anything kay kinahanglan makahibawo usa ta kung nganong ilisan, wa koy ideya nga naa diay ingon ana nga plano (We need to find out why replacing her will be necessary, and as of now, I have not been made aware of that plan),” Cuenco said.

Nine out of 28 missing checks issued by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) to CCMC have been cashed.

The rest are covered by a stop payment order, which the insurance agency filed before the Land Bank of the Philippines after hospital officials reported the loss of the checks.

In a phone interview yesterday, the mayor said he is still searching for the next CCMC head. He also said he will review hospital policies.

Asked if he is in favor of selling the 200-bed hospital instead, he said that option

“is not in my vocabulary.”

“Just show me or tell me a better option instead na mao’y tubag ug makasulbad sa atong problema dinha,” he said.

Councilor Daluz, who heads the council’s committee on budget and finance, said he recommends that the management of CCMC operations be turned over to the private sector.

City Hall will be represented in the CCMC board so that it will have a substantial voice in making decisions about the hospital, he added.

Councilor Cuenco, who chairs the council’s committee on hospital services, health and sanitation, said privatization might deprive the poor of access to the hospital’s services.

Apart from repairs, he said the set-up of the rooms should also be examined.

Cebu City officials discussed the proposed sale of the CCMC in mid-2008, with then city administrator Bimbo Fernandez saying services could get better if the private sector manages the facility. He had also said City Hall can invest more on health insurance for the poor, or a voucher system that will enable the poor to pay for hospital care.

The proposal to sell the CCMC was reportedly hatched as early as 2002. (With ETB)