GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 September) — The Commission on Audit (COA) in Region 12 has launched a full financial and systems audit of the city hospital here amid mounting questions from the public over its supposed inadequate and poor services.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the local government has requested the conduct of the full audit on the hospital to clarify some issues regarding its mandated services and operations, specifically in the utilization of its allocated funds.
He said the audit, which the city government formally sought in a letter addressed to COA Region 12 officer-in-charge Arlene Reyes, also aims to determine what should be done to improve the hospital’s systems and to make its operations more transparent.
The mayor said he has assigned a team to work with the COA auditors regarding the ongoing audit of the facility.
“We need to fix or restructure the hospital’s systems to make its services to our residents more effective,” he said.
Citing complaints and observations from the public, Rivera said the city hospital appears to be experiencing serious shortage on medicines and related supplies.
“We have the funds but we also know that our medicine supplies are always short,” he said.
The hospital management, led by Dr. Benjamin Pagarigan, acknowledged that their medicine supplies are often insufficient due to the increasing number of patients that it caters.
He said the hospital mainly serves patients from this city, nearby Sarangani Province and parts of South Cotabato.
The city government and the provincial government of Sarangani have a standing agreement for hospitalization partnership that allows the admission to the hospital of referred patients from Sarangani Province.
Aside from the inadequate medicine, Rivera said they noticed that the food served by the hospital is often limited, if not measly.
“Again, we are supposed to have (enough) funds for this but the reality is that our patients are sometimes given just rice porridge and sardines for their meals,” he said.
The city hospital, which received a budget of around P130 million for this year, underwent a number of major improvements in the last three years, among them the computerization of its laboratory, pharmacy and billing systems.
Through assistance from the Department of Health (DOH), the city hospital completed the renovation of its emergency room-outpatient department.
The DOH has also allocated additional funds for the construction of its second level, which will house the obstetrics ward and private wing, gynecology ward, operating room/delivery room and pediatric intensive care unit room.
The city hospital, which is being developed by the city government as an economic enterprise, is also building a tertiary class dialysis center that is due for completion before yearend. (MindaNews)