MANILA – As the country continues to battle the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has urged for the immediate passage of two health bills seeking to further improve the delivery of medical and health care services of two government hospitals by increasing their bed capacities to address overcrowding issues.
“As we face the Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial to improve our government health facilities,” Go said in his sponsorship speech of House Bill Nos. 6144 and 6036 on the Senate floor Monday.
HB 6144 and HB 6036 aim to increase the bed capacities of the Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC) in Tuguegarao City, and the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (LPGH-STC), respectively.
In pushing for the swift passage of the health measures, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography noted that overcrowding in public hospitals has been one of the weaknesses of the country’s health care system.
“In 2018, almost 65 percent or 284 out of 437 public hospitals were overcrowded. This included 51 or 73 percent of our Department of Health (DOH) hospitals,” he said.
Go said CVMC and the LPGH-STC are among the hospitals having average bed occupancy rates that are “tremendously” and “exceedingly” above the national standard of 85 percent.
CVMC, which is a Level-III DOH hospital, caters to patients from Region II (Cagayan Valley) and nearby provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region, and yet it has only a 500-bed capacity.
“In 2018, CVMC recorded 16,155 hospital admissions. From 2018 to 2019, it had an average bed occupancy rate of 158 percent, which is tremendously above the national standard. Thus, HB 6144 seeks to increase the bed capacity of CVMC from 500 to 1,000 beds,” Go said.
On the other hand, he noted that LPGH-STC is a 200-bed DOH hospital serving the cities of Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pasay, and Bacoor and Imus in Cavite.
“Its bed occupancy rate from 2018 to 2019 averaged at 110.53 percent, which is exceedingly above the national standard. Thus, the need to upgrade from 200 beds to 500 beds,” Go said.
“The DOH has also expressed its support to the proposed measures to more effectively manage our increasing number of patients. It is for these reasons that I am seeking this Chamber’s support for the immediate passage of these measures,” he said.
HBs 6144 and 6036 are in addition to the five local bills that Go sponsored last May 27, which, among others, seek to further capacitate the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (Quezon City), Western Visayas Medical Center (Iloilo City), Siargao District Hospital (Surigao del Norte) and Malita District Hospital (Davao Occidental); and to establish the Bicol Women’s and Children’s Hospital (Camarines Sur).
Aside from the local hospital bills, Go is also pushing for the passage of other legislative measures that seek to further strengthen and enhance the country’s health care system.
These include Senate Bill No. 1226, or the proposed DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act; SB 1259 or the “Mandatory Quarantine Facilities Act of 2020” which mandates the establishment of quarantine facilities in every region in the country; and SB 1528 which seek to strengthen the country’s efforts in disease surveillance and epidemiologic investigation.
Go has also filed SB 1451, or the “Medical Reserve Corps Act of 2020,” which seeks to establish a Medical Reserve Corps composed of all persons who have degrees in the field of medicine, nursing, medical technology, and other health-related fields but have yet to have their respective licenses to practice for one reason or another.
“Once we have well-equipped hospitals with increased bed capacities in the provinces, sufficient medical workers, and proper protocols in place for future health emergencies, we can assure Filipinos that a better life is waiting for them wherever they are in the country,” Go said. (ia/PNA)