Dr. Ian Bermeo, chief of operations of the Adventist Hospital Palawan, asks the City Council to allow the Level 2 hospital to set-up a "community isolation unit".

The Adventist Hospital Palawan (AHP) wanted to extend its medical services for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms that may be qualified to be isolated in “non-hospital facilities”.

Dr. Ian Bermeo, chief of operations of the Adventist Hospital Palawan, during the Question Hour at the City Council on Monday, sought the city government’s approval to establish some 50-bed isolation facility within a private establishment.

Anchoring his plea on Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Circular No. 2020-0018, Bermeo explained that the Levels 2 and 3 hospitals may provide “technical assistance” to the “community isolation units”. The Adventist Hospital Palawan is a Level 2 hospital.

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“There is provision in the law which allows us for the opening of more facilities. Basically, it is based on the approval of the LGU, we can start if the city allows us. We can do exploration on how we can partner with the facilities so we can come up with more isolation facilities accredited by DOH and PhilHealth so we can provide places for the patients to go to,” Bermeo told the Council on Monday.

Insisting that it was not merely a “business” opportunity, Bermeo said there was a need to establish more isolation facilities as pointed out by the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 during their visit in the island province last week.

The country’s testing czar Vince Dizon, during the NTF press briefing in Puerto Princesa on May 20, said that Palawan and Puerto Princesa need to expand its isolation facilities with 2,500 to 3,000 more bed capacity in order to properly address the growing number of virus-infected individuals.

The PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0018 allows claim for each individual of up to P22,449 for the “community isolation unit”, which will be funneled through the hospital providing extended services.

This, however, is entirely separate and distinct if the patients would be accommodated within the hospital. Based on PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0009, the new case rates, patients confirmed with COVID-19 and developed into severe illnesses will be compensated as follows: mild pneumonia for P43,997; moderate pneumonia for P143,267; severe pneumonia for P333,519; and critical pneumonia for P786,384.

Bermeo said that Adventist Hospital Palawan has the capability to train the personnel, including non-board certified nurses, and provide hospital equipment which may be required in the facility.

“In this set up we will be able to train our personnel which will be accredited by the DOH and PhilHealth so that we can help the Puerto Princesa City. Under board, there are certain procedures which do not require the qualifications of being a nurse. But in certain areas, we will be putting RNs,” Bermeo added.

Appearing before the Council without a written proposal, the matter was tabled for a committee hearing this week by city councilor Roy Ventura, chairman of Committee on Health, who also previously got infected by the highly infectious COVID-19.

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