Duque: TMC may face sanctions for supposedly refusing COVID patients

Published March 11, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Corresponding penalties may be imposed against The Medical City (TMC) for supposedly issuing a memorandum instructing its staff not to accept patients infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Wednesday  (March 11).

The DOH chief even warned all private hospitals against refusing COVID patients.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III following the the DFA's suspension of the sale of Dengvaxia for 1 year, and imposing a P100,000-administrative fine on Sanofi for failing to comply with post-marketing authorization requirements for the vaccine.(photo by ali vicoy)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Ang protocol diyan (The protocol there is), they are not allowed to refuse patients. Unless the reasons are cogent, the reasons are clear, we cannot allow it,” he told reporters after attending the House committee on health hearing on government’s measures to contain the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

In the panel hearing, Duque said they are still validating the report that Pasig City-based TMC reportedly issued such a memorandum.

“We will have to look into this report, so I’m sending my regional director to make the assessment vis-a-vis the claim of the hospital of reasons why they are no longer accepting patients,” he said.

When asked about penalties, Duque said, “I’m sure there are. So we can probably impose some of the sanctions. Well you know, the accreditation, the PhilHealth, the licensing by the Bureau of Health Facility Services Regulatory.”

In the House panel hearing, Muntinlupa lone district Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon called on the DOH to “exercise its authority as the incident commander” to contain the disease.

“I hope you will fully utilize these powers that are within your hands to make sure that these hospitals, before making such move, they should coordinate with you, come up with protocols, before they make any announcement, clearance with the incident commander,” he said.

In the deliberation, Quezon 4th district Rep.  Angelina “Helen” Tan, chairman of the House committee on health, also aired her concern over the supposed memorandum.

In the memorandum, TMC supposedly said they can no longer accept persons under investigation (PUIs) because it is at full capacity.

“We will have that validated by our regional DOH NCR because that hospital is located in NCR. We will ensure that they are not just making excuses when they said they are at full capacity,”  Duque said. “Within the day, I will give the instruction to visit that hospital.”