PHL private hospital assn head raises alert as more nurses resign to work abroad

PHAPI pres. says many hospitals still complaining about unpaid Philhealth claims


(Eagle News) — The head of the association of private hospitals in the country sounded the alarm on increasing resignation of health workers, particularly nurses, to look for better opportunities abroad amid the pandemic

Dr. Jose Rene De Grano, president of the Private Hospital Association of the Philippines Inc., (PHAPI) said that more and more registered nurses in the country are filing their resignations so they could work abroad where there is better pay.

Baka dumating ang time na kulang na tayo ng registered nurses,” he said in an interview in the NET25-Radyo Agila program, “Balitalakayan.”

De Grano said that if it is true that the allowed cap for nurses going abroad to work or apply for work is 6,500 per month, then the Philippines would eventually see a shortage of nurses. The country has only around 70,000 employed nurses, he said.

“In six months, baka maubos na. Kasi ang alam ko po, mga 70,000 lang ang employed nurses right now sa buong kapuluan natin,” he said.

A month ago, many health care workers were also hit by COVID-19 infections.

-More moderate, severe and critical cases-

De Grano also noted that even with decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases per day, there are more patients being served and admitted in hospitals as there are now more severe, critical and moderate cases, compared to the numbers a month ago.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that a month ago, mild and asymptomatic cases were more than 95 percent, although new COVID-19 infections being reported daily range between 15,000 to just below 20,000 usually.  Now, mild and asymptomatic cases only account for around 84 percent to 85 percent of cases, or a drop of 10 percent.

He said the public should not be complacent just because there is easing of restrictions in many areas, including in Metro Manila.  Observing minimum public health standards such as wearing of face masks, frequent handwashing and social distancing is still very important.

He also pointed out that the number of COVID-19 cases presently was the result of previous community quarantine restrictions. The effect of the easing of restrictions this week would only be felt after about two or three weeks, he said.

De Grano also said that there are still a number of hospitals who have problems with Philhealth payments.

Medyo maraming hospital pa rin ang nag-rereklamo, although nakikipag-usap na ang Philhealth,” he said during the interview this week.

Some delays in Philhealth claims were also resolved by the Anti-Red Tape authority or ARTA.

Private hospitals usually cover expenses of COVID-19 patients while they await for Philhealth to pay the claims.

And COVID-19 hospitalization is very expensive, he said. In fact, he said the hospitalization fees of a moderate COVID case is equivalent to the expenses of seven caesarian cases. This is because a moderate case stays in the hospital for two weeks to about a month. Severe or critical cases stay even longer since they usually have to be treated in the hospital ICU.

“Ang comparison po niyan, pitong caesarian sections po ang isang moderate case,” De Grano told Balitalakayan.

“And the moderate case will stay in the hospital for at least two weeks. Ang laking kakulangan sa hospital nyan, kung hindi po agad nababayaran.”

Because of the increasing number of moderate, severe and critical cases at present, these translate to higher hospital occupancy and higher costs for the hospitals that shoulder the expenses. This is in addition to overworked hospital personnel who have to deal with more cases.

De Grano said that if the hospitals would keep on advancing payments for the benefits of Philhealth member patients while waiting for the release of Philhealth claims, more private hospitals could end up not renewing with Philhealth.

Ang kawawa pa rin po ang ating mga kababayan kung halimbawa hindi mag-renew sa Philhealth ang karamihan ng mga ospital,” he said.

(Eagle News Service)