Press Release
September 17, 2020

Senate Committee on Health tackles bill to improve services of Benguet General Hospital; Bong Go pushes for measures to enhance public health facilities nationwide

During the Senate Committee on Health and Demography hearing on Tuesday, September 15, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, who chairs the committee, expressed his commitment to push for measures to enhance the capacities and capabilities of public health facilities nationwide amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

One of the bills tackled and adopted by the Committee, subject to possible amendments, during the said hearing is House Bill 6849 which seeks to increase the bed capacity of Benguet General Hospital from 200 to 400 beds. The bill also places the hospital under the direct supervision and control of the Department of Health.

"Katulad ng nangyayaring pandemya ngayon, nakita po natin ang maraming kulang sa sistema ng Philippine healthcare. Higit na mas kailangan nating taasan ang kalidad ng ating serbisyo sa pamamagitan ng pagtaas ng bed capacity ng mga pampublikong ospital," Go said.

"Sa mga kababayan natin sa Benguet, mas maraming pasyente na ang kayang i-admit ng Benguet General Hospital dahil dodoblehin natin ang bed capacity ng ospital. Mula sa 200, 400 pasyente na ang kaya ng ospital. Dagdag pa rito, inihain din na sasailalim na sa DOH ang ospital na ito kaya mas mapapabilis ang pag-upgrade natin ng mga serbisyo ng ospital na ito," he added.

Aside from these provisions, the bill also states that the existing workforce in the hospital will be increased correspondingly. Existing professional health care services and facilities will also be upgraded, and the cost of renationalized functions will be determined.

Meanwhile, Go is also pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1226 or the proposed "Department of Health Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act of 2019"

The Senator, who authored SB 1226, has been eyeing to hasten the process of upgraded public hospitals to enhance healthcare facilities nationwide. The committee report for the proposed measure is currently being finalized.

The said bill aims to authorize DOH to increase bed capacity and service capability of its retained hospitals. It will allow DOH to promulgate evaluation and approve guidelines. Under current regulations, a DOH-run hospital can only upgrade its facilities through legislation which takes much effort and time.

"Nakita naman po natin ang epekto ng COVID-19 sa buong mundo. Matuto tayo sa experience na ito. Let us create a better healthcare system with enhanced health facilities nationwide to better respond to health emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis," he said.

Under SB 1226, DOH will be directed to develop the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan. This will help guide the modernization and development of all government health facilities and lead to more efficient utilization of the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the DOH.

The bill will also require the DOH to provide Congress an annual report of hospitals with approved bed capacity along with necessary funding requirements to be considered when the legislative branch deliberates on the annual national budget.

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