DOH reminds level 2 and 3 hospitals they may not refuse patients ‘suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19’

Published March 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

In the wake of new coronavirus infections reported in the country, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has reminded all level two and three hospitals not to refuse patients with the suspected disease or else risk sanctions.

Duque said these hospitals must attend to the needs of the people, adding that only confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with severe and critical condition will be moved to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and two other government hospitals.

Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (Facebook)
Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (Facebook)

“All levels two and three hospitals are reminded to not refuse patients suspected or diagnosed with COVID–19,” he said in a Palace press briefing Monday.

“Refusal to provide care to said patients shall be considered a violation of the signed Performance Commitment and shall be dealt with by PhilHealth accordingly,” he added.

General hospitals are classified into three levels — Level 1 with minimum healthcare services, Level 2 that offer extra facilities like intensive care unit and specialist doctors, and Level 3 hospitals that have training programs for doctors, rehabilitation, and dialysis units, among others.

Duque has recommended the establishment of a triage area in the emergency rooms of level 2 and 3 hospitals for screening suspected COVID–19 patients.

“All levels 2 and 3 hospitals are directed to attend to all patients suspected to have the COVID-19 and those confirmed COVID-19 with mild symptoms,” he said.

“Only confirmed COVID-19 patients that are severe and critical shall be referred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the San Lazaro Hospital, and Lung Center of the Philippines.”

The health department earlier announced four new cases of the coronavirus in the country, bringing the total to 10. According to Duque, at least 80 percent of the coronavirus cases are “mild.”

At least 41 patients under investigation are admitted to hospitals, he said.

Duque said the health department will disclose the names of the hospitals after coordination to combat unverified or fake news.

He also urged the public to visit a hospital if they feel any respiratory illness.

“We would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that our hospitals have infection prevention and control practices in place, so there is no need to avoid going to these hospitals especially if you feel unwell. For example, hospitals are already performing quarantine of their health workers, among others,” he said.

He said people who visited places frequented by confirmed cases of COVID-19 are not required to seek medical consultation and subject themselves to testing.

Instead, he advised these people to self-monitor their condition. “If with symptoms, consult health center or rural health units for appropriate management monitoring,” he said.