Petty cash fund for Bukidnon public hospitals doubled amid ‘possible abuse’

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/11 October) – No less than Gov. Alex Calingasan said on Wednesday that that the administrators of Bukidnon’s provincial hospitals “may have abused the petty funds” for these facilities, but he asked nonetheless that their petty cash fund for medicines, medical and laboratory supplies be doubled.

In separate letters, Calingasan asked the provincial board to authorize him to grant petty cash funds to the hospitals for “emergency procurement.”

The request, which the provincial board approved on Wednesday, came on the heels of complaints that the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center had refused some patients reportedly because it lacked medicines and supplies.

The increases granted by the provincial board were retroactive from January to September 2012. Aside from medicines and supplies, the amounts are also intended for housekeeping and dietary expenses.

Board member Jay Albarece told MindaNews they granted the request because there are really emergency expenses that the hospitals would attend to.

But the same ordinance provided that the petty cash fund should only be replenished once a month and should not exceed the appropriated amount.

Based on the ordinance, the petty cash fund for the provincial medical center is now P200,000. The seven provincial hospitals will get the following amounts: Kibawe P100,000, Manolo Fortich P50,000, San Fernando P40,000, Talakag P25,000, Malitbog P20,000, Maramag P150,000, and Kalilangan P25,000.

Albarece said these were the same amounts proposed by the governor.

The hospitals will also get separate petty cash funds for housekeeping supplies and dietary expenses.

Albarece clarified the increase was not meant to cover or tolerate the excesses incurred by the hospital administrators on the use of petty cash funds.

“We saw the need that is why. They (those involved) will have to answer for the excesses,” he added.

In a privilege speech on September 26, provincial board member Ranulfo Pepito questioned the lack of supplies and medicines at the medical center citing that some patients were allegedly refused admission because of the problem.

Pepito said he received reports from a Valencia City-based private hospital that they admitted patients, whom the center allegedly refused due to lack of supplies and medicines. He clarified that the patients were referred to other hospitals.

The board member reported those two patients from Valencia, one who was stabbed and another with a serious ailment, were allegedly referred to the private hospital in the next city because the center did not have oxygen and x-ray film, among others.

The latter patient eventually died, Pepito said. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)