A CEBU City councilor will push for the payment of the entire hospital bill of 38 patients from the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) who have been transferred to five other hospitals in the city after the earthquake in October last year.

The patients’ total hospital bill amounts to more than P2.2 million.

Of the total amount, P54,081.35 will have to be paid by the City Government to Cebu Velez General Hospital; P1,152,079.18 to Chong Hua Hospital; P142,843.69 to Adventist Hospital Cebu; P436,617.11 to Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital; and P419,986.19 to

Perpetual Succour Hospital.

In an interview yesterday, Councilor Dave Tumulak said the City can shoulder the patients’ bills since it will be charged to the City’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) funds.

Guidelines

Tumulak said that based on guidelines, Pagcor funds may be used for “projects which involve extension of emergency assistance to victims of disasters or other calamities and terrorism.”

Tumulak’s statements came after the City Council, in its regular session last Wednesday, asked the City Accounting Office to determine the exact amount to be paid, considering that the maximum hospital aid the City can extend to indigents is only P25,000 under the City Hospitalization and Medicine Program (Champ).

“There’s really no problem because we can justify paying for the entire amount using Pagcor funds and not Champ funds, which has a limit,” he said.

Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella supported Tumulak’s statement, saying it is the prerogative of the mayor what items will be charged to Pagcor.

The City receives at least P4 million from Pagcor for allowing it to operate casinos in the city.

Apprehension

The City Council earlier expressed apprehension about the City’s decision to shoulder the entire amount, saying it might set a precedent as CCMC might refer more patients to other hospitals since the City doesn’t have a new hospital yet.

But Tumulak and Labella said it will be up to the executive department if the City will also shoulder the hospital expenses of patients who will be transferred to other facilities in the future.

“I trust the wisdom of the mayor. I know he will also not allow anything to be abused,” Labella said.

The City has transferred several in-patients of CCMC following the earthquake since the CCMC hospital building sustained heavy damage from the incident.

The City will be building a new hospital which is expected to cost P1 billion. It will be constructed in the next four years.