Cayetano, Binay want NKTI, PHC back to full specialty hospital status
MANILA, Philippines — Senators Pia Cayetano and Nancy Binay want specialty hospitals like the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) and the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) to return to normal operations.
During a hearing for the proposed budget of the Department of Health (DOH) and attached agencies on Wednesday, NKTI Executive Director Rose Marie Liquette told Cayetano that they saw a drop in the number of kidney transplant operations performed at the hospital.
“Yes, because of the condition wherein we have to protect also our transplant patients and we also converted some of our units into COVID wards,” said Liquette.
Cayetano then asked if the NKTI may go back to its normal system of operations now that more people are getting vaccinated.
“Do you anticipate that you will still have COVID wards next year? The reason why I am asking this question is [that] as far as I am concerned, I want to future-proof your operations… It’s (transplant) not really something people can wait forever, so I am just wondering if you expect and prepare to normalize by next year given a positive outlook on more vaccination,” the senator said.
“Your specialty is renal function so if somebody has COVID, or was exposed to COVID pero may renal function [problem] siya, sa inyo [pupunta], wala tayong problema doon (but he or she has renal problems, they should go to you. We don’t have a problem with that). What we are saying is hindi na kayo magiging (you will no longer be a) general referral for COVID. Are we clear on that?” Cayetano further asked.
“Yes, hopefully,” answered Liquette.
Binay agreed with Cayetano’s suggestion, noting that the NKTI and the PHC should continue to perform their primary functions as specialty hospitals.
“Hindi ba nakikita for next year, na baka pwede ‘yung NKTI hindi na mag-aaccept ng COVID patients and they would just go back sa trabaho nila as a specialized hospital. I think this is something we can ask the DOH, ‘yung kumbaga moving forward as we live with COVID, at some point, ‘yung Heart Center, NKTI, should be back to their primary purpose,” said Binay.
(Are you not anticipating that next year, perhaps the NKTI should no longer accept COVID patients and they should just go back to their normal purpose as a specialized hospital. I think this is something we can ask the DOH, that moving forward as we live with COVID, the Philippine Heart Center and NKTI should be back to their primary purpose.)
Meanwhile, PHC Executive Director Joe Abanilla noted that they also want to go back to normal operations. However, he noted that they also have to admit their staff who got COVID-19.
“A while ago, there was a mention na sana ang (that we hope the) specialty center go back to their previous mandate. How we wish. But the problem also like in one of the [surges], 300 of our staff got COVID. We need to admit them too. Unfortunately, the most critical complication of COVID is cardiovascular as well,” Abanilla explained.
Cayetano said she and Binay would take up the matter with the DOH.
“Senator Nancy and I will take this up at DOH. ‘Yun ang gusto natin, na anyone with a heart problem na exposed sa COVID, sa Heart Center pa rin (What we want is anyone with a heart problem and exposed to COVID should still be referred to the PHC). That’s our vision for the future. We need to ask the DOH,” Cayetano said.
“We do hope na (that) you go back to a new normal. We would like our Filipinos to be able to avail of your services,” she told the hospital executives.
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