DOH reminds: HMO providers not authorized to declare hospitals in ‘full capacity’

November 11, 2021 - 11:00 AM
A sign is displayed at a triage area in Santa Ana Hospital indicating that its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) facility is at full capacity, in Manila, Philippines, April 9, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

The Department of Health reminded the public that health maintenance (HMO) companies have no authority to declare hospitals being on “full capacity.”

DOH issued this advisory on Wednesday, November 10.

The department also did not mention any HMO company it was referring to.

“The DOH would like to clarify that private HMO companies have no authority to declare hospitals being on ‘full capacity’ and that these hospitals can no longer accept any patients,” the advisory read.

DOH also encouraged accredited HMO companies in the country to be more cautious with the information they share to their members.

“We urge private HMO companies to exercise caution in issuing these advisories to avoid confusing and inciting fear among the public. Let us all be responsible in sharing correct information with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

The health department then noted that the utilization rate of COVID-19 beds is at 30.2%, which is at low risk, as of November 10.

In DOH’s COVID-19 tracker, this bed occupancy translates to 38,674 in total.

Social media users had mixed sentiments in the comments section.

Some users agreed with DOH’s advisory and urged the agency to penalize the private firms concerned.

Others, however, perceived that the HMO firms are only helping their members become aware of the situation with their partner hospitals.

“DOH, try doing what the HMOs are doing…no copyright for that.. Be the first to inform the people which hospitals are already at full capacity instead of tagging the HMOs who are providing the information for us,” one Facebook user said.

“HMOs are doing YOUR JOB! If you are doing YOUR JOB, maybe these HMOs will stop,” another Facebook user wrote.

In the COVID-19 case bulletin on the same day, the country recorded an additional 2,646 infections, which brought the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 2,809,311.

Meanwhile, there were 4,029 new recoveries, thus accumulating to 2,735,508.

There were also 99 new COVID-19-related deaths, therefore adding up to 44,665.

Seven laboratories were unable to submit their results.