Daraga, Albay—To better address and serve the health and medical concerns of his region, Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda seeks to upgrade and expand the capacity of the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, a state regional medical center in Legazpi City.
In a bill he recently filed in Congress, the Albay lawmaker seeks to increase the BRTTH’s bed capacity from its present 250 to 800 beds, upgrade its facilities and augment its medical staff to meet the needs of the entire Bicol region.
Salceda said his House Bill 8856 aims to establish the hospital—which has been existing for over 100 years and now stands as the Philippine General Hospital of the South—as a facility that can ably cater to more patients from Albay, Sorsogon, and the island provinces of Masbate and Catanduanes, many of whom are disadvantaged by rising costs and travel distance to Metro Manila.
Even with its limited capacity and resources, he said the BRTTH has been expanding its services to meet the health demands of Bicolanos and cope with the mandate of the Department of Health to become the combined Heart, Lung, Kidney, and Cancer center in the Bicol Region.
The hospital has also expanded and upgraded its PhilHealth Z package benefits accreditation to help attain President Duterte’s Philippine Health Agenda 2016-2022 of “All for Health Towards Health for All,” said Salceda.
The Heart, Lung, Kidney and Cancer centers of BRTTH cater to the entire region, being the sole service provider against these chronic illnesses, and is therefore expected to cope with increasing patients in the coming years, he added.
Salceda said the progressive development of Legazpi and the neighboring provinces, coupled with the increase in population, and related factors, compel the hospital to upgrade its capabilities to adequately cope with the similarly expanding health and medical needs of the people it is mandated to serve.
A former US army barracks hospital, BRTTH is geographically located in the center of the Bicol region. It is an ISO certified institution since 2012 and currently working on its Strategic Plans based on the Philippine Governance System.
The hospital merited the Gawad Kalasag national award, ranked best hospital based on DOH evaluation, and is an accredited Level-3 research institution by the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board and internationally recognized by the Strategic Initiative for Developing Capacity in Ethical Review or SIDCER, and the Forum for Ethical Review Committees in Asia and the Western Pacific (FERCAP).
Salceda said the Bicol Regional Development Council, in 2004 and 2012, had endorsed the upgrading of the hospital to 600-bed capacity, which is no longer sufficient “due to the expanded demand for its facilities and services, having broken the 600 patients-a-day mark with over 200% Bed Occupancy Rate, in 2014.
To cope with such demand, the BRTTH has gradually adopted its development plan with creative initiatives in upgrading its services and facilities within its constricted means, including the augmentation of its personnel.
Category-wise, general hospitals are medical facilities with 600-800 bed capacities or more, while specialty or sub-specialty hospitals are allowed up to 200-bed capacities at most.