Press Release
March 20, 2020

Government to designate hospitals dedicated for COVID-19 cases; Go echoes hospitals' appeal for 'unified approach'

Senate Committee on Health and Demography Chair Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go said on Friday, March 20, that it is important to identify and capacitate select hospitals that can exclusively handle COVID-19 cases in order to have a more unified approach, maximize limited resources, protect health workers, and avoid exposure of patients in hospitals with non-COVID-19 health concerns.

"Mahirap kung kalat-kalat sa iba't ibang mga ospital ang mga pasyente na positibo o posibleng may COVID-19. By designating specific hospitals, it is easier for the government to monitor the progress of the patients and in positioning logistics and other resources. It also lessens possible exposure of COVID-19 positive patients to other non-infected individuals in hospitals," Go explained.

Go said that this approach will also avoid unnecessary possible exposure of health frontliners in other hospitals to COVID-19. He further explained that health professionals working in hospitals that are not one of those designated to specialize in COVID-19 cases can focus on treating other patients who are facing non-COVID-19 but equally high-risk diseases and conditions.

"Tuloy-tuloy dapat ang serbisyo maging sa mga may sakit sa puso, cancer, high blood, diabetes at iba pang karamdaman," he said adding that other hospitals must remain steadfast in their duty to serve and cater to the needs of patients with various medical concerns aside from COVID-19.

The Department of Health has announced that in compliance with the instructions of the President, the government will be dedicating hospitals in Metro Manila to specialize and provide services solely for PUIs and patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

As of this time, DOH is considering two hospitals, namely Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan and the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital in Manila to be designated as medical facilities exclusively for COVID-19 cases.

Furthermore, Go noted that a similar measure has been earlier implemented in Davao City. Mayor Sara Duterte assigned the Southern Philippines Medical Center to handle PUIs showing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

"Ginawa nila ito para maiwasang ma-contaminate ang ibang hospitals doon at maasikaso nila ang mga non-COVID-19 patients at mga emergency cases," Go said

In line with this, a statement was released by an alliance of eleven private hospitals in Metro Manila requesting the government to identify and capacitate hospitals that will be dedicated to handle cases related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The appeal was also endorsed by the Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine College of Surgeons.

Go responded to the statement by expressing that he supports the intent of the appeal of several hospitals for "a unified approach to the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Nakikinig ang gobyerno sa mga payo at hinaing ng medical professionals at health experts. As a legislator, I personally believe in the wisdom of this policy approach as expressed in their appeal and so does the President," said Go.

The hospitals that issued the appeal to the government include the Adventist Medical Center, Asian Hospital Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Fatima University Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Medical Center Manila, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, The Medical City, St. Luke's Medical Center and University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center.

"Joint effort dapat ito ng medical community, public and private. Now is a time for us to all work together to find the right solutions to this crisis," Go reiterated.

Meanwhile, Senator Go also reminded the public that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation has special packages for COVID-19 cases and patients may go to any of the 71 Malasakit Centers in the country to apply for financial and medical assistance from PhilHealth, DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

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