Hospitals deny charging patients for donated PPEs

TWO private hospitals have denied they are charging patients for the personal protective equipment (PPEs) used by their doctors and nurses.

Both the CebuDoc Group and Chong Hua Hospital (CHH) said donations to them are accounted for and they have either bought or fabricated their own PPEs that may include mask, gloves and gown.

A CebuDoc Group statement said it was aware of the global scarcity of PPEs due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, “thus, we have decided to start fabricating our PPEs because we are running six hospitals and we cannot depend on donations.”

It said: “We can assure everyone that we have not charged our patients with any donated PPEs. In fact, company logos on donated PPEs are not removed to acknowledge the donors. Our staff will only log donated PPEs once used for proper monitoring, but charge the used PPEs that we purchased. Further, we only charge the ones directly used for patient care. Other PPEs that are not used in patient care are already part of our operational budget.”

Chong Hua Hospital, for its part, said donated PPEs are used by support staff, not by the doctors and nurses.

Chokie Ortiz, CHH patient and customer relations officer, earlier said they always have PPEs in stock since they order in bulk.

“We never had a shortage. As a matter of fact, our bulk orders always arrived. The latest was from last week,” she said.

Ortiz said the hospital procures medical-grade PPEs for their frontliners who attend to Covid-19 patients.

“The PPEs we used to take care of the patients are the ones which were ordered by the hospital so we really charge them because these are intended for their use,” she said.

Donated PPEs, she said, are not used by medical frontliners such as doctors and nurses. These are used by those considered as support group like the orderly and housekeeping staff.

The two hospitals became the subject of a complaint made on social media that claimed patients were being charged for the PPEs. The complaint said private hospitals should not charge for these since there have been many donations to them by organizations and individuals.

As to the donated food packs also mentioned in the social media complaint, the CebuDoc Group statement said it can guarantee that food donations went directly to frontliners, while the CHH also said it provides regular rations to frontliners aside from donations.

“Unfortunately, private hospitals are easy to target by these issues. But we believe that private hospitals like us are also prepared. We meticulously prepare for a crisis like this not just for the welfare of our patients but also for our employees and frontliners,” The CebuDoc Group statement said. (NBC)