The Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) adds more beds from 225 to 525 beds, this after the House of Representatives Committee on Health discussed, last Tuesday, January 30, 2018, House Bill No. 3061 filed by Bohol First District Representative Rene L. Relampagos.
Initially known as the Bohol Provincial Hospital which opened on October 19, 1929 by virtue of Republic Act No. 3114, it was originally designed as a Regional Teaching and Training Hospital for Region VII with an eight bed-capacity. In 1984, it was given its present name, Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH), under Batas Pambansa Bilang 640. The bed capacity of GCGMH was increased to 150, then to 200 hundred and finally to 225 beds under Republic Act No. 7266 enacted on March 20, 1992.
At the hearing, Rep. Relampagos underscored the fact that it has been more than 20 years since the hospital was given additional bed capacity despite the steady increase of patients seeking medical treatment and service in the said medical facility.
He noted that this is the third time said bill was filed. “It remained pending with the Committee on Health in the 15th Congress. In the 16th Congress, it was approved on third reading at the House of Representatives and was duly approved by the Senate Committee on Health under then Senator Teofisto Guingona III. In this 17th Congress, I’m staying positive that the bill will finally see the light of day,” he said.
Aside from the proposed expansion in bed capacity, the veteran lawmaker made several amendments. First, that the completion of the increase in bed capacity be spread in a span of three years to ensure efficient implementation and smooth transition. Second, that there be a modernization and expansion of GCGMH to include an annex at Cortez, Bohol.
This is to maximize the present improvements of the hospital at its present location at Tagbilaran City at the same time providing greater access to hospital care to other parts of the constituencies in Bohol. And third, that, as proposed by GCGMH Board, the name of the hospital be changed to Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Medical Center or GCGMMC.
In can be recalled that in 2016, the Provincial Government of Bohol recommended to relocate the existing hospital to a bigger and spacious land donated by the provincial government in Malayo Norte, Cortes, Bohol to accommodate more patients and offer better medical facilities and services. At that time, the hospital was experiencing congestion problem brought about by the increasing number of patients needing medical attention and health services leading to extremely inconvenient cases.
The same has changed, however, in view of the improvement of the facilities of the hospital in the past years. Hence, the amendment to retain the present facility and the opening of a branch in Cortes under the proposed modernization and expansion of the hospital.
On the part of the Department of Health (DOH), the representative from the Health Facility Development Bureau manifested the support of the DOH to the proposed increase in bed capacity of GCGMH including the proposed expansion and change of name of the hospital. He reported that the Province of Bohol has 18 licensed hospitals – 6 public hospital and 12 private hospitals with a total of 1,045 general hospital beds catering to 1.314 million population.
This translates to a General Hospital Bed to Population Ratio of 1:1,257 far from the target of the DOH of 1:800 based on the Health Facility Development Plan 2017-2022. DOH further said as per data from GCGMH, the hospital had a bed occupancy rate of 126% for the year 2015 and 153% for the year 2016. Finally, the DOH representative reported that the Investment Coordinating Committee and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board) have approved the GCGMH Modernization and Expansion Plan last September 2017 which includes the transfer of the GCGMH to Cortes.
The Health Committee duly acknowledged the presence of GCGMH’s Medical Center Chief, Dra. Mutya Kismet T. Macuno, who expressed her support to the proposed bill. Dra. Macuno acknowledged that the proposed bill reflects the long-overdue desire of the hospital to increase its bed capacity which has reached 183% bed occupancy rate in 2017. She also joined the proposal to maintain the present location of the hospital at Tagbilaran City and the establishment of a branch in Cortes. Finally, she noted, “We are very excited to confer with the development plans of the DOH. With the efficient downloading of funds, we were one of the few hospitals in the Philippines to deliver universal health care. For the year 2017, we were able to serve 32,000 patients free of charge.”
Rep. Mark Go moved to approve the bill including all the proposed amendments and Rep. Ron Salo seconded the motion.