Ejercito visits Baguio hospital, sees need to intensify rural healthcare dev’t » Manila Bulletin News

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By Larry P. Fabian

THE PRICE OF SERVICING ALL — Senator JV Ejercito takes note of the plight of patients – mostly belonging to indigenous peoples of the Cordillera – who are forced to receive medical treatment on the corridors of the Baguio General Hospital-Medical Center during his visit over the weekend. (Larry P. Fabian)

Baguio City — Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, making the rounds of government hospitals in the country, recognized the need to increase funding for the development of the Rural Healthcare System following his visit to the Baguio General Hospital-Medical Center, here, over the weekend.

Ejercito, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Urban Planning, met Dr. Ricardo Ruñez Jr., chief of the lone state-run tertiary hospital in this Summer Capital, and discussed with him the plight of the indigent and indigenous peoples (IP) who seek medical treatment at the BGH-MC.

Ruñez noted developmental concerns regarding the 115-year-old medical facility, which has a 500-bed capacity serving patients from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) as well as referrals from neighboring regions.

“There is a need to expand our infrastructure as the medical facility is the catchment of patients coming from Baguio, Bontoc, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Tarlac and Pampanga Provinces,” said Ruñez.

He lamented that the hospital’s proposed expansion to increase its patient- and bed-capacity has been hindered by informal settlers who now occupy an estimated 120,594 square meters of the facility’s lot area of 24.5 hectares.

Moreover, there is a problem in hospital manpower since the number of patients often exceed the 500-bed capacity, giving healthcare workers too much work to handle, Ruñez said.

To address the issue, Ejercito said he would ask the National Housing Authority (NHA) for possible funding for housing infrastructure in order to relocate the informal settlers, but with cooperation from the local government to identify a relocation site.

On the need for expansion, he said: “Well it really needs development in adding more beds and hospital buildings as I see patients already in the corridors.”

The senator vowed to study and defend the facility’s budget proposal during their hearing, as the tertiary hospital’s budget comes from the National Government.

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