The city is willing to provide the required augmentation of the manpower of private hospitals that have earlier declared full occupancy of their dedicated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) beds to allow the same to expand their operations amidst the continuous surge in the number of cases.
City Budget Officer Atty. Leticia O. Clemente stated that the local government can hire health workers on job order basis who will be assigned to the different private hospitals that need the augmentation for their manpower and that their salaries could be drawn from the city’s current appropriations for COVID-19 response efforts to allow the management of the health facilities to admit COVID patients for possible treatment.
However, she claimed that the City Health Services Office will have to closely coordinate with the management of the different private hospitals in the city to thresh out the parameters on how to implement the same to avoid possible problems on the payment of the salaries of the hired health workers in the future.
Earlier, private hospitals in the city announced that their dedicated COVID-19 beds reached full occupancy following the surge in the number of cases over the past several weeks and that the same could not further expand their COVID-19 bed capacity to 30 percent as mandated by the health department because of financial constraints.
However, the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) continues to admit patients and that management is doing its best to manage COVID patients that are being admitted in the government hospital.
Another intervention that the local government is doing is the enhancement of the city’s central isolation unit based at the former Sto. Niño Hospital as a step down facility so that it will be able to accommodate mild to moderate cases from the government and private hospitals who are on their way to recovery to help ease up the congested COVID-19 beds in the said health facilities.
Initially, the city is setting aside some 30 to 40 beds in the isolation unit that will be dedicated for mild and moderate patients who are on the way to recovery to achieve its purpose of being a step down facility aside from serving as the central isolation unit of the local government that is accredited by both the health department and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
For her part, city Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo recommended for the amendment of the memorandum of agreement on the use of the central isolation unit so that it will be used as a step down facility will be included to allow the city to claim reimbursements from the State insurance corporation for those that will be recovering in the said center.
Currently, concerned offices are now working out the procurement of additional health equipment to ensure that the unit will be able to comply with the minimum requirements for it to be accredited as a step-down facility the soonest.
Local officials and health authorities are continuously coordinating with the management of private hospitals in the city to find timely and appropriate solutions to the congestions in the said facilities caused by the surge in the number of COVID cases. By Dexter A. See