Skeptics derided it as mere “propaganda” and doubting Thomases said “it’s a nice blueprint” project of the national government.
But don’t look now – the so-called “Malasakit Centers” in DOH-run government hospitals, namely, the Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (Tagbilaran City) and the Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital (Ubay), which will virtually provide “free hospitalization and medicine” for the poor will be a reality within 30 to 45 days, according to Dr. Kismet Tirol-Macuno, chief of the Gallares Memorial Hospital.
Tomorrow, the very first pilot hospital based in Cebu, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, will officially open the doors of its “Malasakit Center”. In such center, the poor patients will have a one-stop office so they can access funding for their hospitalization needs: the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare, the Philhealth and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
If the patient’s needs are not yet sufficiently met by the four agencies, the Office of the President through its Undersecretary for the Visayas Michael Dino – will fill the gap – ensuring the poor patient virtually pays nothing.
The two Bohol hospitals will closely watch the operation of the “Malasakit center” in the Sotto Hospital and improve it when the Malasakit operation shifts to the Gallares and Del Valle hospitals in less than two months time.
The “Malasakit Center” in the Gallares Hospital is a 25-square meter area (near the chapel) where representatives of the four agencies will be seated. Another area has been designated for patients awaiting their turn for filling in the forms and interviews.
Things like patients turned away for lack of deposit and hostage for their inability to pay hospital bills will be things of the past.
Alongside this, the city hospital will soon embark on an P18-million microwave-enhanced medical waste management system to address the daily output of 200 kilograms of medical wastes in the hospital. Currently, it has engaged an accredited DENR waste management firm to bring the wastes to Cebu for proper waste disposal.
Even before the implementation of the “Malasakit Center” the Gallares Memorial Hospital was able to treat for free some 32,000 in and out patients in the year 2017, marking it one of the best performing DOH-run hospitals in the country.
Somehow, the hospital was able to use the three agencies (except the PCSO) to help defray the total cost of the hospitalization of the 32,000 patients. They were able to turn over patients faster from 5-7 days to 3 days and less since the DOH-controlled hospitals have more flexibility in pressing for medicine deliveries. Thus, the patient is attended more speedily resulting in faster turnover and more patients attended to.
The services, according to Macuno, cover medicine, laboratory and x-ray expenses, even.
Even if officially, they are a 225-bed capacity hospital, they actually accommodate more by using extra beds and using spacious lobby and hospital corners. Aside from that, the Gallares Hospital hired additional 44 nurses, 15 medical technologists and other hospital staff in 2017.
The high patient occupancy netted the government hospital P173 million in revenues in 2017 and was helped by the P12.5 million funding from the three Bohol congressmen plus other sources that totaled P70 million that year. This year the GAA allocation for the Gallares Hospital is P54 million.
HOUSE APPROVES HOUSE BILL 3061
HB 3061 sponsored by first district Rep. Rene Relampagos passed the first reading at the Lower House last January 30 increasing the hospital capacity bed from 225 to 525, the erection of the Cortes Gallares Hospital (extension) which will result in two operating hospitals headed by one CEO.
The P555-million improvement of the current city hospital will be finished by June 2019. However, the new 10-storey IM-Surgery and Acute Care Service Provision Bldg will be requested from the HFEP fund of the DOH.
The Cortes hospital project costing P2.268 billion has been approved by the NEDA under a multi-year allocation starting 2019. The P1.16 billion will be for infrastructure and P567 million for equipment, and the rest for Dev consultancy cost and indirect cost for a total of P2.2 billion.
The Specialty Services to be started in 2019 include: Cancer Center, TB and Tropical Medicine Center and Behavioral Services Center (Mental Health).
Other specialty centers will be developed there including a bigger dialysis center, wellness center, diabetic center and Geriatric Center.