THE Department of Health (DOH) has listed Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) in Dagupan fourth in the list of 30 leading government hospitals throughout the country set to be given corporate status soon.
Dr. Roland Mejia, chief of R1MC, welcomed the inclusion of the hospital by Health Secretary Enrique Ona, but noted that the corporatization still depends on the approval of three bills pending in Congress, two with the House of Representatives and another in the Senate.
Ona has been working for the corporatization of the 30 government hospitals run by DOH since he assumed the post as DOH head in 2010.
Mejia said R1MC, the only Tertiary Level 4 Hospital I and training hospital in Pangasinan, is prepared to assume a corporate status, which he said will further improve the capability of the hospital to provide health care to the public, especially the indigents.
“Indigents need not worry because when R1MC becomes a corporation, it will not change its billing policies, it will still depend on the social classification made by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to patients,” Mejia said.
“When that time comes,” he said, “more international foundations will link to the hospital and donate assistance not only in terms of sophisticated equipment but also training of doctors, nurses and other health workers.”
Under a corporate status, government hospitals will have more autonomy and self-sustainability.
This means, Mejia explained, that they will be able to use part of the hospital income to buy equipment and improve existing facilities. But more importantly, he added, they will cease to be a burden yearly to the national government.
Currently, all income and expenditures are under the control of the DOH.
Under the proposed law, hospitals will be corporatized only if these are well equipped and are earning.
To help maintain operations sans subsidy from the national government, the hospitals are urged to convert 30 per cent of their existing beds as “private beds” for patients that can afford to pay the higher rate.
R1MC currently has a 300-bed capacity, which means at least 100 beds will have to be converted into private beds. Only 78 private beds are offered today.
There is a pending bill in Congress filed by Fourth District Rep. Gina de Venecia seeking to expand R1MC into a 600-bed capacity by next year.