Private hospitals asked to accept ‘charity patients’ so gov’t hospitals can focus on COVID-19 cases

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Mar) – Government-owned Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) appealed to private hospitals in the Davao Region to accommodate “charity patients” as the government hospitals are already busy with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

Dr. Bryan O. Dalid, DRMC chief of hospital, said the government medical institutions might not be able to tend to the less privileged patients with other medical conditions, especially if the COVID-19 cases would increase.

He added that devoting specific facilities for COVID-19 cases would also prevent the risk of infecting other patients with the dreaded disease.

“It’s better if we have facilities for COVID-19 patients so that we can control easily because once we gain control of the areas where these patients are admitted, the lesser is the spread to the community,” he pointed out.

Dalid said if private hospitals would offer their services to charity patients, it would ease the burden on public hospitals, which are also tasked to oversee the centers that will be put up soon for persons under investigation (PUI).

The DRMC in Tagum City and the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City are the only government tertiary hospitals in the region.

“The best thing to do in this situation so that we won’t be overwhelmed because we are catering to a lot of patients with COVID-19 is for our private hospitals … to admit charity patients [while us in government hospitals will take care of] those with COVID-19. Give and take,” Dalid suggested.

He added that the existing non-COVID-19 patients who are already confined at the government medical institutions may not necessarily have to be transferred to private institutions, but they should at least accommodate new charity patients.

“So that we can focus on COVID-19 patients … who are admitted in our locality, and then we will oversee the PUI centers in our [respective local government units],” Dalid said.

Dr. Annabelle Yumang, regional director of the Department of Health (DOH) in the Davao Region, said devoting the tertiary government hospitals would lessen the risk of COVID-19 transmission to other patients.

Mayor Sara Duterte earlier ordered the private hospitals in Davao City not to accept patients with COVID-19 to keep them and their health workers from possible contamination due to exposure to the virus in the event the number of PUIs or COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Yumang said allowing the private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients might not help control the contagion.

“Dedicating one hospital for PUIs is one way to lessen transmission,” she added.

She asked the private hospitals to immediately refer any patients who are suspected to be a PUI to the government hospital. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)