Senate approves GCGMH 526 bed capacity increase

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Senate approves GCGMH 526 bed capacity increase

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The Senate Committee on Health and Demography, chaired by Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, joint with the Committee on Finance held a public hearing on Monday to discuss and deliberate on the bill increasing the bed capacity of Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in Tagbilaran, Bohol from 225 to 526 beds. Present during the hearing are Department of Health (DOH) Region 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas and GCGMH Director Dr. Jose Teofilo Arcay.

Bohol First District Representative Rene L. Relampagos, author and sponsor of  the House Bill with full title, “An Act Increasing The Bed Capacity of the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in Tagbilaran City, Province of Bohol From Two Hundred Twenty Five (225) to Five Hundred Twenty-Six (526) Beds And Appropriating Funds Therefor,” said the proposed measure seeks to boost the ability of the hospital to deliver various medical services to a greater number of constituents.

The second-term lawmaker underscored the need to upgrade the facilities and increase the bed capacity of the primary hospital in the province in order to respond to the growing number of patients and to improve access to quality healthcare services.

“GCGMH is a government-run teaching and training hospital in Tagbilaran and at the same time a referral center of patients from other provinces in Region VII. It does not only serve patients from the province but also patients from different parts of the region. The proposal to upgrade the hospital’s medical facility is also in line with the present thrust of the DOH to improve access to quality care and to scale up public effort to attain health goals,” Relampagos stressed.

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He explained that more and more patients, especially the indigents, are flocking to the hospital to get medical attention. The additional bed capacity, he said, would make the medical center more responsive to the changing needs of the community.

During the hearing, Senator Guingona stressed that the said that the proposed measure is “a legislation catching up with reality.” Senator Pia Cayetano, on the other hand, stressed the urgent need to push more allocation from the Sin Tax law for the enhancement of health facilities.

“Through the years, GCGMH strove to improve its health care services for the benefit of its residents. Its present capacity, however, prevents it from servicing its growing number of patients, which, in effect, defeats the very purpose of providing universal health care to as many patients as possible,” Relampagos added.

He said records show that from 2010 to 2014, the hospital’s occupancy rate has dramatically increased from 115 to 130 percent. “For more than 20 years, the bed capacity of GCGMH has not changed despite the significant change in the number of patients being served by the hospital.”

The Provincial Government of Bohol wishes to relocate the existing hospital to a bigger and spacious land donated by the provincial government in Malayo Norte, Cortes, Bohol to accommodate more patients and offer better medical facilities and services. At present, the hospital is experiencing congestion problem brought about by the increasing number of patients needing medical attention and health services leading to extremely inconvenient cases, such as two expectant mothers sharing one bed. The amount necessary for the initial implementation of the project shall be charged against the current year’s appropriations of the DOH.

Public hospitals in Bohol were not spared by the wrath of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the province in 2014. They have suffered either severe or partial damages resulting into more congestion of the present GCGMH which started only as an 8-bed capacity hospital in 1929.

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It is observed that GCGMH have become space-constrained relative to the programs of the DOH. The existing hospital has been seen to have its restrictions brought about by limited parking area for employees and clients, inadequate spaces for offices, absence of multi-purpose large halls, limited capacity of stock rooms, compliance to accessibility law and concerns on accessibility for the physically-challenged and differently-abled persons.

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The construction of a new hospital to a bigger site, moreover, is seen to address the existing deficiencies and compliance to DOH standards geared towards ISO Certification which the hospital has initially started. The new hospital will also be more environmentally sensitive, with designs supporting policies for energy conservation, proper healthcare, waste management and a safe hospital to resist during disaster. The actual land development and construction is estimated to take conservatively three years to five years maximum. The project will directly benefit the entire Province of Bohol and provinces in Region VII through employment generation and improvement of healthcare services.

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