Mejia defends R1MC’s billing of patients
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – Despite its reputation as one of the best- managed and financially viable government hospitals in the country, Region -1 Medical Centre (R1MC) is not insulated from various criticisms.
One of the raps is it bill patients who are confined at the government hospital.
R1MC manager Dr. Roland Mejia was quick to justify this.
He said this year, the national government appropriated P125 million for the 300-bed tertiary hospital.
P62 million of this is allocated for the annual salary of the hospital staff and personnel, while a measly P38 million is appropriated for the needs of patients who come from the four provinces of Region 1.
“Ngayon, kung di po tayo maniningil sa pasyente sigurado ho na one month lang sarado na ang hospital. Kasi ang oxygen natin P12 million sa isang taon. Ang pinapakain po natin sa pasyente, tsina-charged natin doon sa P38 million. Iyon lang ay more than P15 million sa isang taon. Iyung electricity po natin for one month ay P1 million or P12 million a year. Susumahin ninyo iyung halagang ng binabanggit ko mahigit kumulang ng P38 million. Wala pa iyong gamut at saka supply na gagamitin ng mga pasyente,” he explained.
He said the revenue R1MC derived from the “B” patients are funnelled to the unpaid bills of indigent patients .
He said the source of this subsidy to the marginalized patients comes from the clients who could afford to pay.
Mejia added the hospital has 76 private beds where the hospital bills the patients there by roughly half the charged by big private hospitals in this city.
“Malaki ang advantage natin kumpara sa private, kasi ang bench mark natin sa costing mga private hospitals. Kasi tayo lang sa Dagupan ang public. Iyung costing po natin ay napaka baba kumpara sa labas na ang kung saan ang klase ng operasyon ng costing nila, ay mas mababa ho tayo. Tingnan niyo ang presyo ng ct scan natin, mas mababa ho tayo kompara sa labas na 20-30% higher pa”.
Aside from the cost of laboratory that is reputably is lowest in the city, he said the x-ray and the professional fees of doctors have a limit as a policy of R1MC.
The RIMC would eventually become a 600 bed -hospital after 4th District Rep. Gina de Venecia sponsored House Bill 3840 that would be passed anytime.
RMIC’s present bed capacity of only 300, and an occupancy rate of more than 100 percent, cannot serve entire population of Region 1, which, according to the 2007 census was 4,545,906,” Congresswoman de Venecia told this paper earlier.
She added that the upgrade is necessary because the medical center also serves as a teaching hospital for medical students, nursing students, and other allied health students in the region.
Mejia said RIMC lives to the advocacy of Department of Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona that government hospitals should be self-sufficient.
“Actually ang R1MC isa sa mga conforming DOH retained hospital sa buong Pilipinas, in a sense kung ang nagastos sa bawat isang peso na nagastos ng gobierno sa atin, ang nare-recover ho natin mahigit isang pesos at singkueta sentimos. Ibig sabihin mas malaki po iyung nababawi natin kesa duun sa ginagastos ng gobierno,” he explained.
He denied reports he owns a drug store outside the hospital.
“Wala akung drug store sa labas. Bawal ho iyan. Kahit tingnan ninyo iyan. Kung maari nga ipasara na ninyo iyung (mga) nasa harap,” he said.
He said that there are two pharmacies inside R1MC. He explained however that not all prescription drugs can be supplied by the government -owned drug stores inside.
He said that at present the hospital is beset with 17,000 unfilled drug prescriptions (prescribed by doctors which are not available in the hospital pharmacy)that he wants to lessen to 10,000.
“During the time of my predecessor Dr. Jesus Canto, hindi masyadong na controlled iyong unfilled prescriptions. We have 86,000 unfilled prescriptions. You have to buy outside. But last year the unfilled prescription was only 17 thousand,” he stressed.
He disclosed that his staff classify the kind of patients according to DOH’s standard.
He explained that a patient who is capable to pay is billed so the revenue could be used to subsidize the bills of the indigents who composed the bulk of the non-paying or hardly paying patients.
“Ganoon iyung supplies ng gamot natin at hospital ay tuloy-tuloy na mapakinabangan ng mga nangangailangan. Kaya mali po ang sinasabi nila na pangmayaman ito. Dahil dito ginagamot natin ang mahihirap. Na kung lalabas sila at wala silang pamasahe hinahatid sila sa bahay nila ng ating mga hospital vehicles para lang maka-uwi,” he said.
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