House panel okays bill adding more hospital beds to WVMC

Iloilo City Rep. Julienne “Jam” Baronda joins the deliberation on House Bill No. 909 which seeks to increase the number of hospital beds in Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao district.

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE House of Representatives Committee on Health approved on Monday House Bill No. 909 filed by Iloilo City Rep. Julienne “Jam” Baronda which seeks to increase by 65% the hospital bed capacity of Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao district.

HB 909 is titled “Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City from 425 to 700, Authorizing the Increase of its Medical Personnel, Upgrading its Services, Facilities and Professional Health Care and Appropriating Funds therefor.”

The bill was filed on July 2, 2019, just a day after the first lady representative of Iloilo City assumed office.

It was calendared for hearing by the Committee on Health two weeks ago but was postponed due to deliberations on the proposed 2020 budget.

“I am glad the bill hurdled the committee level already. We will work hard to have this tackled in the plenary so that we can defend it and get it passed,” Baronda said.

The lady lawmaker said the bill is part of her platform on Health, Obra (Employment), Peace and Order, and Education (HOPE).

“I am so happy because I vowed to work for the health of the people of Iloilo City. This bill is a fulfilment of that promise. This will not only benefit the residents of Iloilo City but the people of the entire Panay Island,” she added.

WVMC is a Level 3 hospital with an authorized bed capacity of 425 and an implementing bed capacity of 592. The average bed occupancy rate over the last two years is 137% or 584 beds.

“As the only DOH-retained tertiary teaching training medical center in Panay, patients go to Western [Visayas Medical Center] for expert medical care. And this leads to overcapacity. Patients spill over to the corridors,” Baronda told the committee.

“This sad reality and the bright ray of hope which is the Universal Health Care Law, made me decide to help address this problem at once.”

Baronda also emphasized that while people believe in the slogan “bawal magkasakit,” she thinks people should also be comforted by the thought that “kung ikaw ay magkakasakit andiyan ang Western Visayas Medical Center. A ‘Western’ that has enough beds, enough doctors, enough nurses, enough medicines and enough facilities to take care of its patients.”

Dr. Joseph Dean Nicolo, WVMC Medical Center Chief, told the committee that WVMC envisions to become a “multispecialty center in the region to provide specialty services for heart, lung, kidney, brain, cancer and geriatrics.”

He further said, “Through the technical support and financial assistance by the Department of Health, local government and other stakeholders, the development of the WVMC will be made into reality.  Statistics shows that the services of the WVMC keep on increasing and this trend continues to skyrocket as the health care needs will always be the top priority.”

The Health Facility Development Cluster of the Center for Health Development-6, in its position paper stated, that it “appreciates the noble intent of” Rep. Baronda for sponsoring House Bill No. 909.