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Sicarelle Holdings Hospital Laundry Contract Debacle

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These postings were extracted from other topics related to the Covid-19 pandemic. It appears that the Sicarelle Holdings contract related to laundry services for hospital clothing items is becoming a topic on its on.

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When a "hospital" hotel becomes  health risk


Trucks uded to carry farm animals trnspoty laundry

Posted 15/07/2020

The Minister of  Health and the Office of the Presidency are dodging questions about the direct hiring of a company with a network of “connections that according to reports makes use of state assets and fails comply with sanitary protocols in providing cleaning and laundry services for hotel-hospitals during the coronavirus epidemic.

So far, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) has refused to answer questions about the hiring which according to La Prensa and people who have been isolated is risking the health . of looking avoid or Covid-19.

The cleaning  of 1,315 hotel  rooms is a vital hygiene service for the confined people, but the report details sloppy cleaning  irregular changing of bed linen, and laundry procedures that fail to meet health protocols

The Minsa pays the hoteliers $15 per night for each occupied room plus 50% of electricity consumption. The rate does not include cleaning or disinfection of rooms or laundry.

hotel_covid.jpgThese services are handled by Sicarelle Holdings, Inc. –confirmed hoteliers–, which is dedicated to hospital cleaning but for the first time is hired for the laundry service, which means little or no experience in a specialized field due to its sanitary and biosafety characteristics.

According to business sources, the Minsa agreed to pay Sicarelle between $45 and $50 for the daily cleaning of each occupied room - an expense of approximately $1 million a month.

“Confirming thein formation, however, is a difficult task as neither the Minsa nor the Presidency have wanted to give explanations about the hiring, despite the fact that this medium has tried to know it more than a dozen times, since May 25, even invoking the Transparency Law” says La Prensa.

his medium has been able to verify that Sicarelle Holdings, Inc. uses water, light and physical space from at least two public hospitals to provide a questionable service.

La Prensa consulted nurses and patients from different hotels. and found that clothes are washed once a week: every Thursday and Friday they are collected and returned a week and a half later. , in other cases, they go through the 14-day quarantine without receiving clean sheets and some patients had to wash clothes in the bathroom. Others complained that cleaning consisted of mopping chlorine on the floor while surfaces were ignored.

“A patient staying at one  hotel for 20 days, revealed that when she arrived l, she received a room with an unmade bed with a sheet covering the mattress. It was not until the 17th day of her stay that they changed sheets and towels after insisting. "

Covid-19 patients admitted to hospitals change their clothes, sheets and towels at least once and up to four times a day, depending on secretions and fluids. For patients at home or isolated, this change and laundry should be, at least once a day, for biosafety said doctor and epidemiologist Felicia Tulloch. She said that the virus can stay up to eight hours in clothing, so extreme care must be taken. Virologist Sandra López Verges I said that the change of clothes should be at least once or twice a day. And if the person coughs without a mask, it is necessary to change it immediately, due to the permanence of the virus in the clothes.

La Prensa said the laundering  was done using for free eater and electricuty   a state hospital facility without proper bio-security controls



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Contraloría promete investigar, ministro de Salud sigue sin responder

¿Cómo controla el Ministerio de Salud que Sicarelle Holdings, Inc. cumpla con la bioseguridad para el lavado de ropa y aseo de los hoteles? El ministro Sucre evade sistemáticamente a este medio.
Mary Triny Zea
16 jul 2020 - 12:24 AM


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Hoteliers  want “hotel hospital“ cleaning contract halted


The washing machines used to launder patients' bedding in an open space next to a hospital morgue.

Posted 16/07/2020

The    Panama Hotel Association (Apatel )has called for the immediate suspension of the “unacceptable contract signed by the Ministry of Health (Minsa) for  laundry service and cleaning of rooms of hotel-hospitals where patients with Covid-19 are lodged.

 The association accused the authorities of allowing sanitary regulations to be breached, in  the premises of its members.

"It is unacceptable that companies without a track record, without equipment and without following the strict sanitary protocols that the Ministry of Health itself requires, operate from our facilities in conditions of little transparency," Apatel said in a statement, in which it repudiates the direct contract of the Minsa to Sicarelle Holdings, Inc.

"Our discomfort increases because despite the fact that a large group of hotels have ceded their facilities without covering their costs to the medical and security authorities, they have never made the agreed payments, plunging these hotels into a deep crisis of non-payment to third parties that threatens their existence. 

In addition to constituting a violation of the agreed terms, this discourages other hotels from joining the initiative, thereby affecting the nation and especially the Covid-19 patients, "says Apatel.

The current Vice Minister of Tourism, Denis Guillén , was a director of Sicarelle Holding from November 2017 to June 2019. A month before joining the Government he left the company.

Since the first contagion was announced in Panama, on March 9, numerous hotels offered their facilities to house the sick, at the request of thPanama Tourism Authority (ATP) The agreements do not include the provision of cleaning, laundry and food services by the participating hotels.

 "In each of the negotiations held with our members, the authorities appealed to the need to be 'in solidarity', citing the lack of budget for this purpose by the nation," Apatel said

As of Wednesday, July 15, there were 1,315 hotel-hospital rooms available for patients. Currently, about 670 sick people area staying.

The Minsa agreed with the hoteliers to pay a rate of $15 per night of room occupied, plus 50% of electricity consumption. The rate does not include the cleaning or disinfection of rooms or the washing of clothes, a service that was awarded to Sicarelle Holding, a company that, in order to comply with this contract, uses State assets and fails to comply with sanitary protocols  a La Prensa investigation revealed.

"We repudiate that a company whose experience is cleaning offices and premises has been contracted to provide laundry and cleaning services for hotel bedding and clothing infected by the virus, particularly from facilities owned by third parties," says. Apatel. in its statement.

The union asks the authorities for exemplary sanctions for those who fail to comply with sanitary measures in hotel facilities and to open an expedited bidding process for services provided by third parties, to ensure reasonable and competitive costs for the country.

It also requests the immediate payment of outstanding debts with hotels contracted as patient shelters. Apatel did not specify the amount of the debt, but asks its members "to refrain from entering into agreements that do not ensure public transparency in the provision of outsourced services contracted by the authorities."



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Inquiry into hotel-hospital cleaning company  saya Health Minister

Posted 18/07/2020

An investigation has been requested into the compliance of the company [Sicarelle Holding, Inc.] provider of cleaning and laundry services for hotels-hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic, said  Panama’s, Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre.

The  Ministry held a face-to-face press conference instead of the usual virtual event after La Prensa revealed a questionable service in hotel-hospitals, where it profits from state assets.

"We have asked for reports of the hiring process and to support us as to why this company is hired, and its compliance." This should be done by the Minsa nursing and administration team, he said.

"If it is verified that the company does not fulfill its commitment, we will change it,"  he said.

After a lengthy in investigation revealing alleged flaws in the sanitary cleaning of patients’ rooms and  infrequent changing of bedding, the company which had dodged requests for an interview published an anonymous message and a lawyer accused La Prensa of being pushed by a rival cleaning company, and said it was the responsibility of patients or the Minsa to change the bedding 



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El Minsa investigará los servicios de Sicarelle

No se licitará el servicio sin el resultado de la investigación. El Minsa excusó la contratación directa, alegando que requerían rápido una empresa con experiencia.
Mary Triny Zea
19 jul 2020 - 01:16 AM




Moderator comment: Below is an unedited automated translation of the above news article, not including the embedded Tweets.


The Minsa will investigate the services of Sicarelle

The service will not be tendered without the result of the investigation. The Minsa excused direct contracting, alleging that they required an experienced company quickly.

Mary Triny Zea
Jul 19, 2020 - 01:16 AM

The Minsa directly hired Sicarelle for the speed in which the service of an experienced company was required, said the head of the Min sa. Miguel Cavalli

In a press conference held at the Presidency of the Republic - in which only one question was allowed per half -, the Ministry of Health (Minsa), for the first time, answered questions about the direct contracting of cleaning, disinfection and garbage disposal. in hospital hotels, as well as the service of washing and drying patient clothes in these facilities.

However, the contract with the company Sicarelle Holdings, Inc. for these services remains undisclosed; It doesn't even appear on the public procurement portal.

La Prensa tried to ask the questions that it sent more than a month ago, through the Minsa press team. Minister Luis Sucre answered some, but hastily left the room; that he was going to another meeting, and asked that the media make an appointment with Public Relations, to discuss the issue.

Sucre, accompanied by the director of Public Procurement, Raphael Fuentes, and the head of Nursing, Eusebia de Copete, said that, following the investigation by La Prensa, an investigation of the services Sicarelle provides in hotel-hospitals would be opened.

Sucre rejected the request of the Panamanian Hotel Association (Apatel) to call a tender for the services that Sicarelle provides, until the result of the investigation was obtained, he stressed.

The minister assured that these services cannot be provided by hoteliers, who, through Apatel, said they have the infrastructure to do so, but who trusted Minsa's hiring. According to Sucre, an experienced company is required.

Precisely, Sucre recalled, Sicarelle does the cleaning of hospitals, a contract that was about $ 15 million and that already has five addenda, which double its original price.

But Sicarelle had no laundry experience. It installed four washing centers for domestic use in two public hospitals to provide the service.

“Washing clothes from a hospital cannot be done by anyone, it is done by a human team that you train, by a team. This has a technique, it is not only to wash clothes and make them come back clean, but how the equipment is handled, ”said the minister.

Sicarelle's handling of biosecurity was questioned by doctors, patients and individuals. As, for example, the lack of sanitary barriers, a fact that reached the ears of the regional director of Health of Chiriquí, Gladys Novoa.

At the press conference it was indicated that the nurses are very rigid with respect to the protocol and are the ones that indicate where it should be cleaned and how often.

In contrast, La Prensa received complaints from patients who reported how they requested to wash clothes and told them to do it themselves, and that more than 14 days went by without a change of sheets or towels.

How often should you wash clothes?

"The change or washing of bedding should be at least every two or three days," said Sucre, who also commented that patients were asked to bring bedding from home, "so they could put it in case the service is delayed ”.

Why not do it daily, as epidemiologists or virologists have recommended? La Prensa asked.

"What was established in the protocol is bedding every two days or, at least, that the company searches for it every other day. If you have extra sheets, they will look for you, "said Sucre, who was unaware of the recommendations.

In a previous press conference, the head of nurses indicated that this washing was done weekly, although Mónica Rodríguez, Sicarelle's lawyer and manager, stated that the washing was at the request of the patients and that they were not in charge of changing the clothes of bed, but the Minsa or the patients.

The Government highlighted its efforts to be transparent, and the innovations in the Public Procurement portal, in which new sections were enabled to report purchases due to the pandemic, but Sicarelle's services have not been made public.

According to the Public Procurement Directorate, it will be published when the inspection process and the countersignature of the Comptroller have passed.

If purchases whose processes have not yet concluded have been published on the Panama Compra portal, why is Sicarelle's contract not published? La Prensa asked.

"That answer can be given by attorney Arelia Jaén, from the Directorate of Public Procurement," Minister Sucre apologized.

At the press conference, there were complaints about the publications of this medium. Copete detailed the nurses' effort and additional hours of work due to the pandemic. “I am not a journalist, but when you are going to give information you must verify it. They must go to the primary source to clarify things, "he said.

She said this without apparently knowing that this media has sent, since May 25, letters based on the Transparency Law, and emails with questionnaires to the press team of the ministry, and more than a dozen calls to the head of the Minsa.

"I have 823 messages [on my cell phone] that I have not been able to reply, and three weeks of being a minister," Sucre excused himself, not remembering that he was previously the vice minister of the same portfolio.


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