Some COVID-19 patients rack up huge medical bills: hospital official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2020 10:35 PM | Updated as of Jul 14 2020 11:42 PM

St. Luke's Medical Center - Global City in Taguig City. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Recovering from COVID-19 comes with a hefty price tag, with hospital bills running up to more than P1 million for critically ill patients, a hospital official said Tuesday.

Speaking to Teleradyo, Dr. Arturo De La Peña, president and CEO of St. Luke's Medical Center, said some patients spent more than a week in the intensive care unit (ICU).

"'Yung mga pinakamalalang kaso, 'yun lang ang P800,000 plus ibinibigay ng PhilHealth. The rest sino-shoulder ng pasyente," he said.

He said some critically ill patients racked up over P1 million in hospital bill as recovery takes more than a week.

"Umaabot. Kasi tumatagal minsan nang isang linggo or more than 1 week sa ICU. Maraming gastos 'yan. Hindi naman pupuwedeng babaan ang inyong standard," De La Peña said.

PhilHealth earlier said it would shoulder the treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Under the case rate provider payment mechanism, PhilHealth pays P43,000 for mild pneumonia, P143,000 for moderate pneumonia, P333,000 for severe pneumonia and P786,000 for critical pneumonia.

De La Peña said most patients admitted in ICU are elderly, which health authorities earlier described as susceptible to contracting the novel coronavirus due to preexisting medical conditions.

During the interview, the hospital official also said their ICU beds have run at full capacity.

All 18 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients are occupied at the hospital's branch in Taguig City. Some 11 ICU beds for coronavirus patients are also full at its Quezon City branch.

"Kung critical 'yung mga pasyente niyo, hindi naman namin puwedeng tanggihan pero hindi mailalagay sa ICU," he said.

To date, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 57,545, with 634 new infections reported Tuesday. The tally includes 1,603 fatalities and 20,459 recoveries.

The Palace on Tuesday said Philippine hospitals have enough beds for COVID-19 patients despite warning from the health ministry that health system capacity for coronavirus cases have reached the "danger zone."

"Overall, we have enough hospital beds, including ICU beds. If the hospital you want to be admitted to is full, government will refer you to another if you need ICU care," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in Filipino.

However, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said COVID-19 patients have occupied more than 70 percent of hospital beds assigned to accommodate them.

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