Health workers: Probe pawnshop practice in PCMC

THE Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) called for immediate, impartial and thorough investigation and sanction for the perpetrators of the pawnshop practices in Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

On Monday’s Department of Health budget hearing, Bayan Muna Party list Rep. Teddy Casiño showed documents dated May 25 and July 24 2012 signed by PCMC Director Julius Lecciones inviting for a bidding of collateral items on July 25-August 10, 2012.

“Public hospitals are intended to provide health services and treat patients, not to add to their hardships.  Poor patient-victims should be accorded justice through an immediate investigation and implementing sanctions,” said Jossel Ebesate, AHW national president.

“We do not buy the alibi that the collateral items are left-overs from previous collections.  If PCMC indeed stopped the practice, the hospital should not have accumulated that much items which include 92 items of watches, 13 units of MP3/MP4 players, 46 items of jewelries, and others. If the officials of PCMC should have sense of justice and remorse, they should have returned the items to the poor patients instead of auctioning them off.

We have expected the Department of Health to have investigated this thoroughly a year ago and applied sanctions to those found guilty. This would have accorded justice to the poor patient-victims deprived of their right to health and free medical services.”

Ebesate said that the inadequacy of hospital budget is never an excuse to implement such anti-patient practices. Instead of extracting collateral from patients who could not pay the bills, public hospitals like PCMC should demand higher government subsidy. If there are adequate medicines, supplies, equipment, facilities and personnel in public hospitals, poor patients can avail of free quality health services whether or not they are members of PhilHealth and there would never be a need for collateral.


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