President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill filed by Rep. Sandra Y. Eriguel that seeks to upgrade and expand the La Union Medical Center to serve more people of La Union province and Northern Luzon.
Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11083 on Sept. 23 after Congress passed the bill on August 31 this year.
Eriguel, who represents the 2nd District of La Union, filed the original measure, House Bill No. 606, on June 30, 2016.
Eriguel said the new law will upgrade the services and facilities of La Union Medical Center in Agoo town by increasing its bed capacity to 300 from 100 and establishing a trauma center.
“This would also mean an increase in the number of medical personnel and appropriating the necessary fund for expansion of La Union Medical Center, which is considered the premier medical facility in the province,” she said.
Under the new law, Eriguel said the provincial government of La Union and LUMC should provide the funds from their respective budgets necessary for the upgrading and expansion of the facility.
Eriguel said the Department of Health is also mandated to include in the agency’s program a subsidy support for the capital outlay requirements of LUMC.
She originally proposed that the department appropriate P100 million as financial assistance to LUMC for three years.
Eriguel noted that LUMC has a trailblazing track record of excellence, steady growth and significant accomplishments since it was established as an economic enterprise in 2002.
RA 11083 amended RA 9259, or the La Union Medical Center Charter enacted in 2004, to ensure that the facility delivers quality and affordable medical and surgical care to the people of La Union and Region 1.
Eriguel said LUMC, considered a “crown jewel” of La Union, has maintained a steady growth in its internally generated revenues as a local government-owned and controlled corporation.
Eriguel said with the construction of Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, which brought more people to La Union, the need for additional beds and a trauma center in LUMC became imperative.
Data show that LUMC saw an increase in bed capacity and revenue over a 10-year period, since it was established in 2012. The hospital posted a 135-percent bed occupancy rate in 2012 while the number of hospital beds reached 184.
The hospital’s internally generated income increased 735 percent or P84.86 million from P11.08 million in 2002 to P95.94 million in 2012, even as the financial subsidy from the provincial government of La Union stayed at P35 million in the past five years.
Eriguel said the hospital’s manpower also grew 203 percent from 139 employees in December 2001 to 298 in December 2012.
“The upgrading of LUMC is therefore highly justified,” she said.
Eriguel said the upgrading and expansion of LUMC services would provide not only the residents of La Union but also the people of Northern Luzon with affordable and high-quality healthcare services.