The Negros Occidental Hospital Operations Department (HOD) management said on Friday, February 24, that all decisions arrived at on the operations of provincial government hospitals are “data driven and is never political because health has no political color”.
The HOD statement was issued in response to a Facebook post circulating, which alleges that after politics reared its ugly head the Level 1 status plan for the Merceditas J. Montilla District Hospital (MJMDH) in Sipalay City has been dismissed and it will continue as a 75-room infirmary.
“Even pre-pandemic, the very low census was already a problem for the hospital. Several schemes, including several changes in management, were implemented just to boost admission but residents still preferred the City Infirmary,” the HOD statement said.
The highest number of in-patients at the MJMDH was 36 pre-pandemic, however, the number plummeted during the pandemic because of the reluctance of residents to seek medical help in fear of contracting COVID, it said.
“It is the wish of the the provincial government to elevate the level of all HOD hospitals. However in the case of MJMDH, very few doctors are willing to go on permanent duty there, however we sweeten the offer, distance being the main issue. Proper manpower is a pre-requisite for the hospital before it can be upgraded to Level I,” the statement said.
At present, the license of MJMDH is a 25-bed Infirmary with the potential to max to 75 beds if needed, it said.
“We maintained the budget and manpower of the hospital as required by DOH despite the low census (as low as 0-3 patients),” the HOD management said.
It also said contrary to the claim in the post, during the pandemic, MMDH was never closed.
“As a precaution for both patients and staff, a triage unit was installed in front of the ER to screen cases, just like all other hospitals nationwide. Most patients, however, asked to be referred to Kabankalan City or Silay City during those uncertain times,” it added.
The HOD said most pledged equipment for the MJMDH were delivered and are still in the hospital and being utilized.
The HOD management also clarified that the MJMDH “is not a Department of Health-run hospital, thus, not national. It is run by the province of Negros Occidental”.
It also pointed out that preparations for the construction of the new Hinoba-an hospital was initiated by the previous administration headed by then Gov. Alfredo Maraָñon Jr.
“All means are being explored to maximize the use of the property (MJMDH) to better safeguard the health and welfare of the Negrense,” it said.*