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Philippine Red Cross to build emergency field hospital for COVID-19 patients â chief
Photo of a Philippine Red Cross facility posted by Sen. Richard Gordon on April 16, 2020.
Sen. Richard Gordon Twitter account

Philippine Red Cross to build emergency field hospital for COVID-19 patients — chief

(Philstar.com) - April 16, 2021 - 5:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross will build an emergency field hospital in Quezon City to address the shortage of COVID-19 beds amid the continued surge in cases, its chairman said Friday. 

Sen. Richard Gordon on Twitter said the EFH — which will be built on the Lung Center of the Philippines compound — will "help people desperately looking for a place where they can bring their loved ones stricken with COVID-19."  

"Our emergency field hospital must be near the Lung Center compound so those who tested positive and need hospital admission have access to doctors, nurses, X-ray, CT-scan, laboratories, and other medical facilities," he also said. 

Gordon said the PRC previously tried to get a space for the field hospital at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and National Kidney Transplant Institute. 

"We encountered challenges with the space requirement for the EFH, so I asked Secretary Duque to allow us to go to LCP because they had an empty concrete field that we could build on right away." 

"The PRC staff and volunteers, together with the Philippine Medical Association and Philippine Nurses Association will all work together to make it a success," Gordon said.

Rising cases, dwindling number of COVID-19 beds 

Less than a week after Metro Manila and nearby areas — also referred to as NCR Plus — were reverted to a more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine, active COVID-19 cases in the Philippines hit a new all-time high at 193,476. 

NCR Plus was previously placed on ECQ, the strictest lockdown classification, from March 29 to April 12 in an attempt to subdue an unprecedented surge in cases and offer some relief to hospitals whose facilities were being overwhelmed.  

READ: 'Full capacity everywhere': Manila hospitals struggle as virus surges |  PGH doctor: Roque's swift hospitalization ‘disappointing’ amid bed shortage

Overcharging in hospital tents 

Amid this return to a stringent lockdown, Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna) bared during a House probe held on March 30 that one of his colleagues was charged P1,000 per hour, or a total of P140,000, for an overnight stay because the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. would not cover it. 

In response, six senators on April 3 asked PhilHealth to swiftly amend its policy on hospital tent coverage, criticizing the state-run agency for failing to adapt to extraordinary situations amid the pandemic.

PhilHealth chief Date Gierran at the time said the agency would investigate reported overcharging in hospital tents "for possible violation of pertinent laws and rules." 

While noting that non-accredited Community Isolation Unit tents are not compensable under existing rules, Gierran said that "Philhealth has been reviewing existing policies to better respond to the extraordinary demands brought about by the pandemic." 

Almost two weeks have passed since then but PhilHealth has yet to offer an update on the matter. 

— Bella Perez-Rubio 

COVID-19 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE RED CROSS SEN. RICHARD GORDON
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