Official slams private hospital for excessive billing

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — A provincial board member here has called for an investigation of a private hospital in Dagupan City for its alleged excessive billing  on a  patient who was only injured in the right hand by a gaff of a fighting cock inside a cockpit arena in the afternoon of Nov. 22 and treated for just less than one day.

In a privilege speech during the regular session on Monday of the Provincial Board, Raul Sison, board member of the second district of Pangasinan,  said he could not comprehend why the Dagupan Doctors Villlaflor Hospital billed the patient Arturo Ferrer, a cockfighting referee,  in the amount of PHP176,976.

He said of the amount, at least PHP137,900 went to the professional fees of three physicians, one of them an anesthesiologist and the two others, surgeons.

According to Sison, the anesthesiologist was paid PHP42,500; and the two surgeons, PHP50,400; and PHP40,000, respectively, plus PHP5,000 as daily visit fee.

The rest of the amount went to the medicines of the patient, operating room fee and others.

“The situation is akin to a robbery in broad daylight perpetrated by doctors, conspiring, confederating  and confabulating with one another,” Sison said.

He said what made it worse is that  one of these doctors is even a staff of the Eastern Pangasinan District Hospital under the Pangasinan provincial government.

He said he is interested in this case because it was him who brought Ferrer to the hospital. Ferrer is working as fighting cock referee or “sentensiyador” at the Pangasinan Cockpit Arena in Calasiao town which he (Sison) manages.

Since Ferrer’s family does not have money, he (Sison) was forced to pay the patient’s hospital bill.

“Not that I paid for the  hospital bill that I  am raising a howl on this issue, Sison said.

“This sad experience  opened my eyes to unchecked, hidden, anomalous and unabated practice of some physicians, including hospitals, that impose exorbitant, excessive and unconscionable fees,” Sison told his colleagues.

He said unknown to many people, there are government doctors who are engaged in moonlighting, meaning, they engage in private practice while being paid from government coffers,” he added.

Sison said will call for a boycott of this private hospital if it would not be able to give a satisfactory explanation on the matter.

He called for  the holding of “Question Hour” in next session of the board on December 4 where  resource persons from the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) regional and provincial chapters, Provincial Health Office and government as well as private hospitals  particularly the Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Hospital will be invited.