Target COVID-19 bed capacity unattainable due to limited manpower, resources — private hospital group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 15)— Some private hospitals may not be able to comply with the required bed capacity policy for COVID-19 patients due to limited manpower and resources in their respective facilities, a group said Wednesday.

Hindi natin kayang tugunan ang 30 percent (bed capacity) kasi unang-una, kulang sa manpower natin at pangalawa, ‘yung iba nagkasakit pa during the duty,” Dr. Rustico Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, told CNN Philippines’ Balitaan.

[Translation: We will not be able to achieve the 30 percent because first of all, our manpower is lacking and second, some workers also get sick during duty.]

Jimenez noted it would be “impossible” for some facilities to reach the mandated 30 percent bed allocation, as they have to balance out resources for both COVID and non-COVID patients. He pointed out that member hospitals have also reported reduced income during the health crisis, which would make it difficult for them to further expand their capacities.

Wala na nga kaming kinikita. Almost 50 percent lang ang admission tsaka kakaunti ang pumupunta sa ospital, kakaunti yung nagki-clinic na doktor, so saan namin kukunin ‘yung pang-aabono namin sa COVID patients kung dadagdagan pa namin ‘yung aming bed capacity?” he pointed out.

Kung pipilitin nila 'yung 30 percent, that is impossible to happen.”

[Translation: We don’t even have a lot of income right now. Our admission is at almost 50 percent, only a few doctors are holding clinics, so where can we get funds for COVID patients if we have to increase our bed capacity? If they force that 30 percent requirement, that is impossible to happen.]

In an earlier interview with CNN Philippines, Health Undersecretary and Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire cited private hospitals’ low compliance rate for the bed capacity requirement, with the said facilities reporting only a nine percent allocation for COVID-19 beds.

Nationwide, the agency reported only 14 percent of beds in total are being allocated for coronavirus patients— half of what is mandated in the pandemic response protocols. As such, the Department of Health reiterated its appeal for hospitals to convert 30 percent of their beds to accommodate more patients.

Jimenez, for his part, said PHAPI may meet with health officials within the week to discuss possible solutions on the matter.

This comes amid reports that some major hospitals in Metro Manila have already reached full capacity for COVID-19 patients. These include the VRP Medical Center in Mandaluyong City, The Medical City in PasigMakati Medical Center, and St. Luke's Medical Centers Quezon City and Global City branches, among others.

The DOH, on the other hand, said authorities are working towards implementing a network among hospitals and the public sector to address this problem.

To date, coronavirus infections in the country have surpassed 57,000.