House bill OKs giving DOH the authority to approve bed capacity of retained hospitals

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill authorizing the Department of Health (DOH) to set and approve the bed capacity and service capability of all DOH-retained hospitals.

The Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao commences in the Plenary of the Batasang Pambansa on December 13, 2017. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN) (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

House Bill No. 5673, the proposed DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalisation Act, seeks to expedite the process of providing quality health services to the Filipino people, said Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who sponsored the bill in the plenary on Monday evening.

Barzaga, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, is one of the principal authors of the bill.

The bill, which is a consolidation of seven measures, was approved by the House Committee on Health, chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan on September 18, 2019, and by the Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, on November 18, 2019.

HB 5673 seeks to streamline the process for approving changes in the authorized bed capacities and corresponding service capabilities of all DOH-retained hospitals.

“Authority is hereby granted to the DOH to adjust and approve the authorised bed capacities and corresponding service capabilities of all its hospitals,” it said.

Under the bill, the DOH is tasked to develop the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan (PHFDP) to guide the modernisation and development plans of all government health facilities and to access capital outlay investment in accordance with its Health Facilities Enhancement Program and other national government capital outlay investment mechanisms.

HB 5673 provides that the Secretary of Health shall include in the DOH’s programs the funding requirements of the proposed Act. The funding shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“The DOH shall provide Congress, through the Committee on Health of the House of Representatives and Committee on Health, and Demography of the Senate, an annual report detailing the approved bed capacities of all DOH-retained hospitals, along with the necessary funding requirements,” according to the bill.

It mandates the DOH to formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 90 days after its approval. (Charissa M. Luci-Atienza) ###