Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Position Paper on the Privatization of the Faculty Medical Arts Building (FMAB)

The All U.P. Workers Union supports the geographical/private practice/clinic of PGH Medical Consultants/UP Manila Faculty at the Faculty Medical Arts Building (FMAB). We also especially support the expanded and efficient operation of PGH laboratory pharmacy, radiologic, endoscopic, laparoscopic, arthroscopic and other diagnostic services to serve the needs of the FMAB, the PGH and of the Filipino people.

However, in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between Daniel Mercado Medical Center (DMMC) and the University of the Philippines last June 18, 2009, the University would allow the operation by the DMMC of privately run laboratory, pharmacy, radiologic, endoscopic, laparoscopic, arthroscopic and other diagnostic services at the FMAB. This we strongly oppose. This scheme not only imperils the long term viability of PGH services but the operation of the whole hospital itself. These services that are intended to be privatized at the FMAB are the heart and soul of hospital operations. It is therefore unthinkable that the University and the PGH would allow the operation of private entities right inside its own compound that will directly compete on its own laboratory, pharmacy and other services.

We are forwarding the following questions and some data to the University and the PGH Administrations:

1. Why do the PGH Administration and the University allow private competition right inside the PGH Compound for laboratory, pharmacy, radiologic, endoscopic, laparoscopic, arthroscopic and other diagnostic services instead of expanding and improving it to meet the needs of the FMAB and of the PGH? This will contravene hospital data that showed that its laboratory and pharmacy services are the top two revenue generating units – and contribute much to ease hospital expenses.

2. What is now the status of end-user-fee schemes in almost all services (except personnel) rendered by the hospital? Are these schemes beneficial to the hospital, and to the public? Or, are these being used as milking cows of officials and favored employees?

3. Why is it that in spite of the billions of pesos in annual national government subsidy and the end-user-fee schemes implemented by the hospital, the PGH Administration was not able to pay for utilities (particularly electricity and water where it incurred P127 million and 32 million debts, respectively) and provide adequate benefits to its employees? If the subsidy from the national government is insufficient, then why can’t the PGH and UP Administrations mobilize the PGH and UP employees, and the public to lobby for higher state subsidy for PGH – the country’s largest hospital? Data from the PGH Medical Social Services Division showed that 80% of PGH service (charity) patients have a monthly income of P7,000 or less.

4. Are the PGH and UP Administration aware of the fact that privatization of health services in other countries have brought about higher cost and very poor access for lower income population? This is happening in the United States, a country where the average income of the people is a lot higher than that of the Philippines. It was even recently labeled by the Daily Mirror, a respected newspaper in London as “the land of the fee” in reference to the United States' high-charging health care model.

We therefore enjoin all service-loving employees and medical consultants of PGH to join us in this crusade against these anti-people schemes in PGH. We also enjoin other organizations inside and outside of PGH to link arms with All UP Workers Union in exposing these anti-people schemes.

We call on the UP Board of Regents to withhold the confirmation of the MOA between the DMMC and the University unless the provisions which allow the DMMC to set-up privately run laboratory, pharmacy, radiologic, endoscopic, laparoscopic, arthroscopic and other diagnostic service at the FMAB are removed from the contract.

We call on Congress to initiate an inquiry on the present state of PGH and other public hospitals vis-à-vis providing and expanding access to health services for the majority of our people.

Finally, we call on our people to resist the on-going privatization of PGH - the biggest hospital of the country and in public hospitals in general, to the detriment of providing adequate and accessible health services to the people.#

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