IN ORDER to admit more patients amid current Covid-19 protocols, the House of Representatives Committee on Health approved recently a bill that seeks to increase the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center's (BGHMC) bed capacity from 800 to 1,500 beds.
Baguio City Representative Mark Go authored House Bill 8782, which seeks to add 700 more beds to BGHMC after the hospital was forced to reduce patient admission due to Department of Health (DOH) protocols amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
From March to December 2020, the hospital's average occupancy rate was only at 45.33 percent, the lawmaker said.
Go added the hospital records a waiting list of 50 to 100 patients every day due to the limited bed capacity which hinders BGHMC's ability and efficiency to provide quality public health services to its patients, of whom 80 percent are indigent, the lawmaker said.
The lawmaker was also the primary author of Republic Act (RA) 11084, which increased BGHMC's bed capacity from 500 to 800 to address the hospital's occupancy rate of 144.17 percent.
Go said the hospital's additional 300 beds at the time only accommodated the prevailing situation, and was not equipped to handle any large-scale public health crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The representative cited BGHMC's crucial role as a regional apex hospital and premier end-referral center for the Cordilleras and northern Luzon.
According to Go, this highlights the need to invest in the hospital's capacity-building to ensure preparedness and top-notch responsiveness for future public health crises.
"Filipinos from Regions 1, 2, and CAR would no longer have to travel all the way to Metro Manila to avail of quality specialty services, which would entail additional costs and inconvenience to the ordinary people," he said.
Go added that BGHMC is set to fully implement 15 different specialty programs over the next four years, including cardiovascular care, renal care and transplant, lung care, brain and spine care, orthopedic center, cancer care, infectious disease and tropical medicine, and mental health, among others. The hospital also trains 211 residents over 16 specialized fields.
With the passage of the bill, Go hopes the BGHMC will be able to cater to more patients with specialized needs without compromising the quality of its services.
He said the bed capacity increase is an investment in an institution that continuously innovates in its services, offers comprehensive training programs, and engages in research to provide outstanding healthcare to the public.