May 20, 2012
Corporatization might turn hospitals into malls and pawnshops, Casiño says
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño today said that if the bill to corporatize public hospitals, which was railroaded last week at the House of Representatives, would become law, some government hospitals might turn into malls and may even have pawnshops inside.
“Aside from having restaurants and stalls inside hospital compounds it is not far off that even pawnshops would have branches inside public hospitals if House Bill 6069 becomes a law. It may become standard practice of hospitals to have pawnshops or act as pawnshops themselves given their new thrust to earn revenues,” Casiño said.
It can be remembered that last year Casiño exposed the practice of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center of asking indigent patients to pawn personal items like mobile phones and watches in exchange for releasing patients.
With this anti-poor bill the needy will find it harder to have their health needs addressed. “Lalong pahihirapan nito ang mga mahihirap na gamutin ang kanilang mga sakit, baka di lang cellphone at relo ang isangla o ibenta nila kundi pati kanilang kidney, apdo at atay para lang makabayad sa bill sa ospital,” he added.
“I am not being alarmist but merely stating a very real possibility. As of now, fees are being collected in all public hospitals because of the lack of capital outlay and Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses,” Casiño said.
He furthered, fees being collected by existing GOCC hospitals are higher than those of public hospitals and even some private hospitals. “Cases in point are diagnostic procedures like the HbA1C (blood sugar analysis) are more expensive in the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) compared to the private Capitol Medical Center (PHP 600 vs PHP 400 or USD 13.88 vs USD 9.25). Hemodialyisis in NKTI is also more expensive than private dialysis centers.
“In the Philippine Heart Center (PHC), more than 1,600 patients could not be operated last year for lack of funds, some of whom already died while waiting. The number of charity beds decreased from 70 percent to 20 percent in 2010. There is also no 100 percent free treatment in the PHC. Depending on the procedure or ailment, a patient classified as Class D or C has to produce tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of pesos for the operation or procedure to continue,” he added.
“I can still cite more examples, but the point is, these practices will get worse if the public hospitals are corporatized. It is just a sugar coating for privatization and we will fight it all the way,” ended Casiño.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, 09209035683