Cebu Provincial Health Office (PHO) head Rene Catan spelled out that the Department of Health (DOH) new classification of the 11 district hospitals did not affect their services.
Catan referred to DOH Administrative Order 2012-0012 which provides rules and regulations governing new classifications of hospitals and other health facilities in the country.
DOH reclassified as general hospital level 1 the Bogo City Provincial Hospital, Balamban Provincial Hospital, Carcar City Provincial Hospital, Danao City Provincial Hospital and Argao’s Isidro Kintanar Memorial Hospital.
“Actually, they were not downgraded but reclassified. Before the order came out, the criteria for the classification is based on the number beds,” he said over an interview with radio dyCM.
Catan said that Isidro Kintarcan Memorial Hospital of Argao has 25 beds while other provincial hospitals have 50 beds each.
The health agency considered them as primary care facilities that provide basic services on emergency treatment and normal deliveries.
Catan said that their office is doubling its efforts for the four provincial hospitals to become Level 2 in two to three years.
“Our strategy now is to develop these key hospitals to become Level 2 so that patients from districts hospitals will no longer go to Sotto,” He said .
Catan said they would also continue to improve the facilities of the 11 district hospitals.
The four provincial hospitals that would be upgraded for Level 2 are those in Balamban town and in the cities of Bogo, Carcar and Danao.
The PHO head said that the strategic locations of these hospitals would save more lives as patients in critical condition would no longer travel to the city.
“Many patients coming from the towns died on their way to tshe city because of blood loss, among others. If you are living in Malabuyoc town for instance, you need to travel four to five hours to reach the city,” he pointed out.
Based on his assessment, Catan said the province must have another Level 2 hospital in southwest of Cebu with Samboan town as the suitable site.
The PHO chief said Level 2 hospitals have departmentalized clinical services such as obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesiology and internal medicine.
“They must also have a surgery room for high risk trauma cases and have better equipment such as second-level X-ray machines, CT Scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging”.
Catan is optimistic that these four hospitals would become Level 2 in two to three years with the Carcar Provincial Hospital most likely to be the first one to attain this status.
According to Catan, at least P2.5 billion is needed for the upgrade.
“The governor and the Provincial Board are giving us the freehand to include the allotment for their upgrade in the 2017 budget,” he said.
Once the provincial hospitals become Level 2, patients from the province seeking treatment at the VSMMC are expected to reduce by 50 percent, he said.
Catan also enumerated some changes he made in the health department, one of which is the creation of two new sections. The two new sections are tasked to oversee the hospital management and address the concerns of public health.