WITH the national government spending P1.6 billion for the expansion of the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) based in Dagupan City, what’s the need for building a P40-million city-run hospital?
None, says Dr. Joseph Roland Mejia, R1MC chief.
“I am speaking as a private citizen now but my opinion is it is not necessary,” said Mejia on the city government’s plan to establish a maternity and child care hospital at the site of Guadiz Elementary School.
The Lim administration’s planned hospital.
Mejia pointed out that it is not easy setting up a hospital, especially now that “hospitals” are strictly classified with standards like levels 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1 should have at least operating and delivery rooms to qualify for the tag “hospital”; Level 2 is departmentalized and must have pediatrics, obstetrics, medicine and surgery; and Level 3, with full facilities.
In Pangasinan, R1MC is the only Level 3 hospital given its training and research facilities.
“So the one they are going to build as hospital, maybe it’s just a clinic to help out patients but for confinement, maybe that is very exhaustive to the financial capacity of the city, in a sense that maintenance of a hospital is high,” Mejia said.
He noted that for a 10-bed lying in hospital, which the administration of Mayor Benjamin Lim wants to build, will need around P10 to P15-million annually just to cover the operating expenses and cannot include costs of medical supplies.
Mejia said he believes the existing Health Center in the city “will do” and that the Department of Health already has established birthing centers accredited by government insurance agency PhilHealth like those in island barangays.
These centers also have existing tie-ups with hospitals for emergency cases.
At the same time, Mejia underscored that the R1MC, being a public hospital, is “for poor people”.
He noted that records will show that the hospital provides a subsidy to poor patients of as much as P9 million a month.
“R1MC gives big help to poor patients and the subsidy comes from paying patients, those who can afford and confined in private rooms,” he added.—Eva Visperas