Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated his appeal to concerned agencies to fast track the expansion and construction of additional modular hospitals equipped with COVID-19 isolation facilities and intensive care unit beds in order to address the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, especially in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.
“Huwag nating hintayin na nag-aagaw buhay na sa labas ng mga ospital ang ating mga kababayang may sakit. Gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para sagipin at gamutin sila,” began Go.
“I laud the continuing efforts of the government to provide more isolation facilities for people with mild and moderate COVID-19 cases; however, the need for more facilities that can handle severe and critical conditions must also be considered,” he stressed.
During President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘Talk to the People’ public address on Monday, April 12, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. disclosed that the country is in need of 2,000 additional ICU beds to respond to the outbreak. Metro Manila hospitals altogether have 1,395 ICU beds at present.
To meet the demand, the government initiated several expansion projects with the aim of generating an additional 1,045 ICU beds for critical cases and 1,178 beds for moderate and severe cases. The projects include:
– 110 additional beds in Quezon Institute (moderate and severe);
– 960 beds from the National Center for Mental Health (moderate);
– 300 beds from the Manila Times College in Subic (mild and asymptomatic);
– 166 additional beds in New Clark City, Tarlac (mild and asymptomatic);
– 200 beds in Eva Macapagal Terminal in Manila (mild and asymptomatic);
– 100 beds in Orion, Bataan Port Terminal (mild and symptomatic);
– 280 hotel beds from Oplan Kalinga for the Philippine General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Lung Center of the Philippines;
– 20 dialysis beds in National Kidney and Transplant Institute; and
– 88 beds in the modular hospital at LCP.
To further boost the healthcare system’s capacity, Senator Go urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to expedite its payments and settle its obligations to hospitals to ensure the unhampered provision of medical services. Both private and public hospitals in the NCR Plus area have committed to use the funds to purchase more new ICU beds.
“Ito pong pagdagdag ng mga ICU beds ng mga private hospitals and the LGU hospitals ay puwede naman po nilang gamitin ‘yong reimbursements from PhilHealth kaya malaki pong tulong ang … naging desisyon na magbayad kaagad ang PhilHealth, initially 60 percent ng kanilang outstanding claims starting March 2020 to April 2021,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during the President’s address.