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Referring patients with unpaid dues to lending firms not hospital practice, says DOH

Hospitals are prohibited from detaining patients or referring them to lending companies in the event of failure to settle their bills on time, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.

“Bawal po mag-detain ng pasyente ang mga ospital, nasa batas po iyan. Ang guidelines po, they (patients) can write a promissory note so they can have it paid on installment,” Vergeire said in an online briefing.

“Hindi po puwede i-detain ang pasyente at hindi rin po hospital practice ang directing them to lending facilities," she added.

To ensure that patients could be tracked after they were discharged despite unpaid bills, Vergeire said the hospital could ask for IDs.

In the same forum, Dr. Bernadett Velasco, project manager of One Hospital Command (OHC), said that the OHC has been able to refer at least 2,200 patients to hospital and quarantine facilities in need of COVID-19 and other treatment.

“Kung urgent po ang needed, nafa-facilitate po namin through our network, para madala po agad sa ospital. Within the day po, naire-rerefer po namin agad sa ospital or quarantine facility,” Velasco said.

The government on August 6 launched the One Hospital Command system which aims to improve the referral system and interoperability of public and private health care facilities catering to COVID-19 patients in the country. KBK, GMA News