Cebu City councilor seeks to penalize hospitals that refuse to admit Covid-19 patients

AFTER reports of some hospitals allegedly refusing to accept patients with Covid-19 symptoms, a measure will be filed before the Cebu City Council to penalize such act.

Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia will draft an ordinance to compel hospitals to accept and provide enough bed capacity for Covid-19 patients or those with Covid-19 symptoms.

Garcia plans to penalize the erring hospitals with a maximum of P5,000 penalty fee or imprisonment, depending on the decision of the court.

He is yet to draft the ordinance and file it before the Council.

This came up after what happened to Poblacion Pardo Brgy. Captain Manolita Abarquez on June 5, 2020, when a number of hospitals refused to admit her as the health facilities were already full, according to the Facebook post of her daughter.

Garcia said he knew that the hospitals in the city are not full yet, however, he alleged most of the hospitals have alloted only a few beds to accommodate Covid-19 patients and those with symptoms of Covid-19.

“I feel so frustrated that this is happening,” said Garcia.

He said he finds it alarming because this happened not only to Abarquez but also to many ordinary individuals.

Garcia said, “Covid-19 should be treated like another disease. How come before Covid, they would readily admit any patient?”

He urged the hospitals, especially the private hospitals, to increase the bed capacity for Covid-19 patients.

Garcia said, “Cebu City hospitals are not overwhelmed by patients. It’s just that even if the hospital has a 500-bed capacity, only very few are assigned to accommodate Covid-19 patients.”

In a separate interview, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the inquiry among the hospitals which refused to accept Abarquez will continue.

Abarquez was not admitted by seven hospitals in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue and ended up at Allegiant Regional Care (ARC) Hospitals in Lapu-Lapu City.

Labella said the inquiry will continue, especially now that the hospitals have been identified after Abarquez’s daughter posted on her Facebook account.

Labella, though, did not give details on what will be the action of the City Hall, adding that he will wait for the findings of City Attorney Rey Gealon and his team. (JJL)