BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
A Department of Health–Western Visayas team is investigating the compliance by Bacolod City hospitals with a DOH directive for them to allocate 30 percent of their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients, Dr. Mary Jane Juanico, head of DOH-6 Infectious Disease Section, said yesterday.
The DOH coordination with the hospitals is ongoing to ensure compliance, she said.
The Bacolod City government officials, in a virtual meeting Monday, raised the matter with the DOH 6 officials so validation is underway, Juanico said.
DOH-6 regional director Dr. Marlyn Convocar, said that there is a DOH issuance prohibiting refusal admission to COVID patients.
“We will try to meet these chiefs of hospitals, review their dedicated beds to COVID, and see to it that these number of beds is really complied with,” the regional director said.
She added that refusing to admit COVID patients despite having available beds will have a bearing on the licensing requirements of the hospitals in the future.
“We will send a letter from our end immediately tomorrow to all the level 2 and 3 hospitals in Bacolod City,” Convocar said.
“We will reiterate that (issuance), and review really the dedicated beds for COVID. We will still monitor the compliance with the order,” she added.
Some hospitals have implemented the COVID bed capacity allocation in phases, with conversion of more rooms to meet the requirement still ongoing, Juanico said.
She also said they will review the situation at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Regional Hospital that has reached its full capacity for COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Julius Drilon, CLMMRH chief, said in advisory Monday that the hospital has temporarily suspended admission of probable COVID-19 patients until further notice.
The hospital has already reached its full capacity allocated for admission of COVID-19 patients who are in moderate to critical condition, he said.
“We shall resume admissions as our beds become available,” he said.
Drilon also said 29 of the hospital staff have tested positive for the virus.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, in the virtual meeting Monday, had requested for a review of the bed capacity of hospitals in Bacolod City for COVID-19 patients.
Leonardia and City Administrator Em Ang, during the meeting, underscored the importance of enforcing the DOH guidelines for hospitals in catering to COVID patients in the city.
Ang pointed out that some hospitals in the city reportedly refuse to accept COVID patients, citing full bed capacity.
However, the data provided by DOH-6 during the same meeting show the availability of hospital beds allocated for COVID patients, a press statement from the mayor’s office said.
Leonardia appealed to DOH-6, being the regulatory body, to address the issue on the reported refusal of admission of COVID-19 patients.
“This is a matter of life and death,” the mayor stressed.
“This is so serious and critical. This is one of the areas we need your support,” Leonardia told the DOH, as he emphasized that the City will be coordinating with DOH-6 as regards this issue.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, chairman of the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force, raised to the group concerns on data privacy of the patients, and information dissemination for the public.
Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya suggested the creation of a monitoring system on the number of COVID cases in every hospital.
Also at the meeting were Convocar, Juanico, Councilor Cindy Rojas – Action Team on Returning Residents chair, Councilor Archie Baribar – Exit Planning Team chair, DOH-6 project development officer Ben Arnel Dela Cruz, and Dr. Anna Maria Laarni Pornan of the City Health Office.*