The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital plans to lay off some “non-frontliner” personnel and adapt other cost-saving measures as financial losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic continued to balloon.

In a report by the Varsitarian, UST’s student publication, hospital medical director Dr. Marcellus Francis Ramirez also said the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) had yet to pay more than P180 million in  reimbursements, which usually took five to six months to be settled.

Ramirez said the retrenchment plan complied with all legal requirements such as a 30-day notice to affected employees and coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment. Laid-off workers will receive a 150-percent separation pay, he said.

Aside from the massive Philhealth collectible, the hospital’s “economic and financial” struggles also stemmed from patients discharged on promissory notes and the continuous payment of utilities, services and supplies.

In a statement, Ramirez also said that many workers had filed leaves, while some were not able to come to work due to transport and other restrictions.

“[UST Hospital] has to implement the right-sizing of its non-crucial (non-frontliner) manpower complement, in addition to other measures which included adjustment of operating hours and implementation of other cost efficiency measures,” the statement read.

The hospital said it was uncertain when its operations would return to normal. John Ezekiel J. Hirro