Association of private, public hospitals defend DOH but seek more PPE, reimbursements

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2020 02:57 PM

A health worker at the Ospital ng Sampaloc on April 30, 2020. The hospital has reopened following a temporary shutdown of operations after many of their doctors and nurses tested positive with COVID-19. Sampaloc district is one of the hardest-hit communities in Manila. Jeff Canoy, ABS-BN News

MANILA — The Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) on Tuesday said it was not seeking changes in the leadership of the Department of Health (DOH) but would like health workers to receive their requests for personal protective equipment (PPE) and funds from PhilHealth.

"I would say there is no clamor for drastic changes in the leadership of the Department of Health right now,” Dr. Jaime A. Almora, PHA president, said.

“Definitely tanggalin muna natin ang pulitika sa ating anti-COVID campaign ngayon,” he said, explaining that it is important that they help each other and cooperate by uniting their efforts," he added.

(Let’s take politics out of our anti-COVID campaign.)

PHA has 1,900 public and private hospitals as members.

Almora made the statement a day after the Private Hospitals Association, Inc. called for the replacement of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III over his supposed dismal performance. This, following reports of overpriced PPEs surfaced and as hospital-members claimed being “financially drained” while yet to receive the PhilHealth’s promised Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) fund.

“We are happy with how things are going. We are happy that we are able to control the spread of the infection,” Almora also said, adding that they are satisfied with the department’s information campaign on COVID-19.

He however noted that members have been following up on various requests.

“Some hospitals have not received yet their PPEs,” he said. “And there are still some of the smaller hospitals that have not received the IRM fund from Philhealth.”

The PhilHealth promised to release a portion of its IRM fund for accredited hospitals to help them respond to the pandemic. An initial P30 billion release was announced in March. This was supposed to be charged to the hospitals’ future claims.

Almora said they will also identify hospitals that have yet to receive PPEs from the DOH and IRM fund from the PhilHealth.

“Today we also plan to give out a questionnaire on how to rate the performance of the DOH. Because we want to be factual in whatever we come out with,” Almora said.