By Mario Casayuran
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Wednessday his department is readying criminal or administrative charges against hospitals who had refused to admit patients suspected of having contracted the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Duque gave the assurance to Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, during a public hearing by the Senate Committee of the Whole on government preparations and plans to contain the spread of COVID-19, and how to address the implications of COVID-19 on the economy.
Go earlier asked to the DOH to investigate these hospitals that refused to admit these patients after reports of such malpractices reached his office.
Duque said the DOH had sent show cause orders to the six hospitals to explain but only three have sent their explanations so far.
‘’But we will not stop there. We need the reply of the three others. If there are no letters of explanation, the DOH Health Facilities Oversight Board would meet tomorrow (May 21) and decide whether to file criminal charges in court or file administrative sanctions against these hospitals.
Duque said the DOH is doing all it could under the law, file charges against those liable and would not condone such practices. These patients have suffered enough.
Asked by Go whether the DOH could cancel the accreditation with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) of these hospitals, Duque said such cancellations would come after they have been found guilty of violating the law.
PhilHealth, according to Duque, has quasi-judicial powers to cancel such accreditation.
Even doctors involved would face disciplinary action from the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC), he explained.
Hospitals or clinics repeating such offenses face the possibility of their licenses revoked by the DOH and PhilHealth, Duque said.