LINGAYEN-- Two provincial employees in Manaoag Community Hospital are now facing administrative charges for Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Abuse of Authority in relation to the violation of No Billing Policy (NBP) for indigent patients in government hospitals.
TRABAHO LANG: Quipped by Dr. Jeremy Rosario, the No. 2 man of the provincial health office, after two of his town mates were implicated on dishonesty charges at the community hospital in the pilgrim town Manaoag.
In an Administrative Case No. 01-2015 signed by Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. on January 6, the two hospital staff have been allegedly found engaging in “unlawful acts of manipulating hospital bills.”
The filing of formal charge stemmed from a handwritten affidavit complaint addressed to Gov. Espino last January 2 by a patient wherein she was charged of P4,000 as hospital bill during her confinement period from August 16 to 20, 2014 in the said hospital due to severe diarrhea
In her complaint, the patient narrated that she was billed an amount of P8,000 despite being a Point-of-Care (POC) enrollee of the provincial government.
The patient’s sister named a certain employee who told her that their hospital bills will be lowered to at least half or P4,000 because the patient is a Philhealth member. They no longer contested the hospital charges as they were already asked to pay the bill in the pharmacy so they could be immediately issued a discharge form.
However, it was later found out that only P81 was remitted to the Provincial Treasurer’s Office with acknowledgment receipt No. 9441513 and the same receipt number was issued to the patient bearing their P4,000 payment for hospital bills. The receipt was allegedly issued by a certain pharmacy aide.
From this incident, Espino immediately ordered the Provincial Legal Office to issue a formal charge against the two employees and asked them to submit a reply affidavit within 10 days upon receipt of the administrative charges leveled against them.
The administrative charge states that “the acts you demonstrated unlawfully charging indigents, manipulating hospital bills without any basis of computation and misappropriating government funds are considered acts constituting Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Abuse of Authority.”
In an interview, Gov. Espino told mediamen that he already ordered the transfer of the two employees to the Provincial Health Office effective today January 13 while waiting for the submission of their counter-affidavits.
“Nalulungkot ako sa lumabas na ganitong problema dahil ang probinsya ay talagang seryoso na matugunan ang programang “No Billing Policy” para matulungan ang ating mga mahihirap na maysakit. Ang provincial government ang umaako sa kanilang mga bayarin sa pamamagitan ng Point-of-Care program ng PhilHealth,” the governor said.
“I will defer my judgment of preventive suspension against these employees until we received their answer to the formal charge filed against them,” Gov. Espino said.
Meanwhile, Provincial Health Officer I Dr. Jeremy Rosario who is also in charge of the hospital operations of all 14 government hospitals and a spokesperson of the POC program said the issuance of administrative charges against the said two employees serves as a “warning to all hospital personnel as well as provincial employees that any illegal collection of hospital bills from indigents will not be tolerated.”
The Point-of Care program, which was fully implemented last April 2014 in all government hospitals, is a flagship program of Espino administration that bails out the indigents belonging to C3 and D category from hospital bills, and to provide them quality health services without any single centavo taken out from their pocket.
“Trabaho lang ito,” said Rosario, who hails from Manaoag, as he revealed that several complainants have surfaced with similar cases of alleged unscrupulous collection of hospital bills in Manaoag Community Hospital involving the same employees. (Merly Ramos/pio)