Councilors thumb down hospital changes-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Thursday, September 6, 2012
THE City Council during their regular session expressed opposition to the conversion of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) into a Government Owned and Controlled Corporation.
In a joint and collective motion raised by Councilor Perlita Chan-Rondez, councilors expressed their opposition to proposed House Bill 6069 or corporatization scheme declaring 26 government hospitals, including BGHMC, into a GOCC raising fears this would translate to increased fees for indigent patients.
The council also moved for the BGHMC to retain its collected income from services obtained from clients pursuant to its charter to further improve the services and operations of the hospital.
Among those invited during an extended session Wednesday to clarify the proposed corporatization of the hospital were BGHMC hospital administrator Dr. Manuel Factora, emergency room operations chief Dr. Manuel Quirino, Romella Rasalan and Milagros Kibiten from the Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region.
Factora said during the session that the BGHMC is currently understaffed for a 400-bed hospital. He detailed some 633 employees are operating for three shifts while nurses sometimes cater to 20-30 patients per shift.
Quirino said that in the emergency room alone, they are already catering more than 200 to 300 patients a day. This sometimes results to delays in attending to patients despite best effort to provide immediate and best care.
He added despite the presence of an Out Patient Department, many clients tend to go to the emergency room even if their cases are not immediate or acute.
He also said some 60 percent of the patients of BGHMC remain to be Baguio residents while the rest comes from other parts of the region and nearby provinces of La Union and Pangasinan.
He suggested creating an ER resident physician, already present in other hospitals in Manila, but the current unimplemented rationalization plan of the Department of Health does not allow them to add another position in their plantilla.
The hospital director, on the other hand, stressed the P255 million annual budget of the hospital is not enough to address the needs of the hospital on facilities and other equipment.
He said that earnings from services availed in the hospital are immediately plowed back for the improvement of operations of BGHMC.
When previously the local governments are allotting funds to cover at least seven percent of the hospital’s expenses, the hospital director said this is no longer being implemented when the government devolved of powers for local governments and the city did not retain the hospital as their asset.
He said a provision of the General Appropriations Act, stating that they are able to retain their earnings, has enabled the hospital to improve their facilities. But without this provision most of their collections are diverted to the national budget.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said the earnings of the hospitals should not be for National Government use but for the use of the hospital and needed for its continued improvement.
Councilor Philian Weygan-Allan asked if a City Government owned hospital is needed to address and lessen the clients served by the hospital but Fatcora said it is no longer needed.
The hospital director said what the City Government could possibly do is increase its appropriations for BGHMC and ensure these funds are allotted most especially for indigent and poor patients.
Factora said they have already been operating like a corporation since 2003 and stressed the rates would depend on the Board of Trustees responsible for coming up with operational decisions for BGHMC.
He however stressed once the BOTs will not be for the poor, it will definitely result to higher fees.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 06, 2012.