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Hospitals discriminate against poor

Hospitals discriminate against poor
By Joyce Pangco Pañares

(First of two parts)

WHEN 22-year-old Armando Jamora Jr. died last week of fever and convulsions because a hospital had refused to admit him, the hospital’s management might not have known he was a relative of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao—a person with the money and clout to get back at them.

Armando, a resident of Kiamba, Sarangani, and a first cousin of Pacquiao’s wife Jinky Jamora, lost his life after the hospital’s staff refused to accept the P30,000 that his family had offered and instead demanded that the required P50,000 be paid in full.

“I am consulting my lawyers for filing appropriate charges against the General Santos City Doctors Hospital for its refusal to give treatment to my dying relative,” said Pacquiao, the World Boxing Council’s super-featherweight champion.

“If they can do this to us, what more to those who have no money and are unknown?”

Jamora’s ordeal is just one of the many cases of discrimination by hospitals in this country, where money is the only way to secure medical treatment.

In a survey of 13 public hospitals in 2004 by the group Kilosbayan Para sa Kalusugan, 89 percent of the patient respondents said they were made to wait three days and up to a month before they were admitted to a government-run hospital for lack of a down payment.

More than half of the respondents claimed that they were denied treatment even for emergency cases for failing to pay an admission fee of P500 to P2,000.

According to Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, many public hospitals and health institutions are ill equipped, understaffed and crowded.

The Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu operates on a budget for 400 patients but admits up to 600 patients daily. The Amang Rodriguez Medical Center in Marikina City maintains 250 beds despite having a budget for only 150 beds.

Having two patients to a bed is common at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila. At the Philippine General Hospital, also in Manila, many patients lie along the corridors of charity wards.

“These are common occurrences nowadays,” Ocampo says.

“They have become the norm—a tragic manifestation of how inaccessible and unreliable much-needed health services have become to the poor and less privileged.”

HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque says the government’s hands are tied when it comes to dealing with private hospitals caught violating Republic Act 8344, a law prohibiting all hospitals and medical clinics from refusing to admit or treat any patient who is not able to pay in advance.

“What the General Santos hospital did was unlawful,” he says.

“There is a law that prohibits both public and private hospitals from turning down patients who cannot pay, but our problem is that the [health department] cannot enter the picture as far as privately owned hospitals are concerned until the aggrieved party files a case.”

Violation of the law carries a maximum penalty of two years and four months’ imprisonment and P100,000 in fines. If nonrejection of needy patients is stipulated in the policy of the hospital or clinic, the fine could go up to P500,000 with a maximum imprisonment of six years.

Still, Ocampo says the law remains inadequate as it did not establish a monitoring system for private hospitals and puts the burden of filing charges on patients. If many patients cannot even pay the admission fee, how could they afford to hire lawyers to get justice?

“Our health-care system is no longer responsive to the people’s needs,” Ocampo says.

“The collection of fees is a virtual death sentence to indigent patients.” (Concluded tomorrow)


profit-oriented naman na kasi lahat ng health care institutions eh.. news pa ba 'to? its more like common sense..

hence, kung mahirap ka, bawal magkasakit..

so so saaaad..

What do you expect in a country where majority lives in poverty line ?

What can you hope for when Health is NOT a priority of one country?

The problem lies that we blame the government and expect them to come up with miracles to solve the countries problem. But yet, if we look at ourselves what have we done to help the government ?

mamamatay ka na nga, pera pa ang nasa mga kokorte nila. b*llsh*t!!!

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