Private hospitals cry for help amid lack of manpower, unpaid claims for COVID-19 patients

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 8)— Private hospitals are also bearing the brunt of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, with several facilities reporting a “worsening” manpower shortage, a group said on Thursday.

“In private hospitals, the manpower shortage is getting worse,” Dr. Jaime Almora, president of the Philippine Hospital Association, told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Almora said healthcare workers recently deployed from other regions to Metro Manila are expected to service public hospitals only.

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He also lamented the fact that there is “practically no support” from the government to private organizations.

“The government hospitals are receiving all the support from the government. But basically, practically no support to the private hospitals,” Almora noted.

“It’s a government for the people, for everybody,” he argued. “But it seems there is a policy that the government cannot provide support to the private hospitals.”

Several public and private facilities in NCR and nearby provinces have been reporting critical to full capacity in the wake of the continuous spike in virus infections. The country’s nationwide COVID-19 tally topped 819,000 on Wednesday.

Aside from lack of manpower, Almora said some of their member hospitals have reported that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. has yet to reimburse claims for COVID-19 patients.

He revealed that the group already held a dialogue with PhilHealth President Dante Gierran regarding the issue, with the latter assuring that all claims will be settled.

“So we hope we’ll soon receive the payment,” Almora said.

With more hospitals getting overwhelmed with patients, Almora likewise urged the public to do their part to help in the country’s COVID-19 response.

“What we need to do now is to bring the battlefront to the doorsteps of every household, every workplace, because we need people now to defend themselves, to make sure that they will not get sick,” he said.