Solon wants to probe increased rates of services charged by PGH to indigent patients

A lawmaker has called for a congressional inquiry into the increased rates of services charged by the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to indigent patients.

In House Resolution 2959, Rep. Teddy Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna) said the mandate of the PGH is to offer excellent facilities for the delivery of comprehensive care for both healthy and sick Filipinos, especially the poor and marginalized seeking specialty and subspecialty care.

Casiño said that as the biggest public hospital in the country, the PGH serves more than half a million patients per year.

“Based on its 2011 data, the hospital served 592,351 patients, of which 98% or 5799,441 were charity patients and that in the same year, a meager 69,171 or 11% were classified as Class D patients,” Casiño said.

He cited an administrative order, AO No.51-A s. 2000, wherein the Department of Health (DoH) on October 12, 2001 defined Class D or “full social services” patient as “a patient or family who cannot provide for the basic food and non-food requirements.

“Based on March 28, 2012, Revised Classification of Patients, MSSD-PGH, these patients are those who are admitted to the charity ward/bed, with no permanent means of living, and/or whose income ranges from 0 to P10,504/month based on the current minimum wage of P404.00/day,” Casiño elaborated.

He added that these poorest patients of PGH are entitled to free laboratory, diagnostic and health services at the PGH.

But on June 9 and 10, 2011, PGH Director Jose Gonzales issued Memorandum Nos. 2011-106 and 2011-110 setting the new Rates for Class D Diagnostic x-ray and the New Rates for Clinical Microscopy Procedures/Examinations effective June15, 2011.

Casiño said the memorandum resulted in a series of protest actions by PGH health workers and patients and Director Gonzales ordered the immediate and indefinite suspension of said Class D rates.

“But during the 1280th meeting on June 4, 2012, the UP-BOR approved the proposed Class D rates and delegated authority to the UP President to approve similar charges in PGH,” Casiño said

Casiño said the increased rates of services charged by the PGH to Class D indigent patients is a blatant violation of Republic Act 747 which states that indigent patients shall be absolutely free from any and all charges incurred by the hospital during his confinement and such patients shall further have priority in accommodation.

Casiño urged Congress to conduct an investigation on the matter since the PGH was created not to be profit-oriented as government hospitals are intended to provide health care services to the Filipino people especially to the poor.

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