Press Releases

Salceda to DOH: Its okay to copy CDC but better to make our guidelines, protocols to prevent hospital personnel shortages, ease pressure off of urban hospitals

January 24th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) requests the Department of Health to issue guidelines and protocols to ensure adequate hospital personnel, as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to cause a spike in cases and hospitalization. The House tax chair also appealed to the DOH to identify funding sources for public hospitals to hire additional health care workers in case all of their existing personnel have to isolate.

“The main constraining factor in hospital capacity appears to be health care workers getting infected and thus being unable to work for a few days. That’s what we’re observing in our hospitals in the 2nd district of Albay,” Salceda said, referring to his constituency.

“Omicron is definitely milder and vaccination rates have reduced the need for hospital care, but health care workers still catch the virus, and we are seeing very high positivity rates among them. That can be a problem. We have the hospital beds and the ICUs. Health care workers having to isolate is a bigger problem,” Salceda added.

“So far, the DOH instruction is simply to refer to the US CDC’s guidelines on personnel management. The principal feature of that is shortened isolation periods for vaccinated health care workers,” Salceda added, citing Department Circular No. 2-2022 issued on January 6, 2022 by the DOH.

“We do not have anything other than those guidelines yet. We do not have guidelines yet as well on drawing out from other less constrained hospitals, or whether the public hospitals can utilize certain funds to recruit additional reserve personnel or augmentation staff,” Salceda added.

Salceda adds that, based on reports from hospitals in his district, “this variant is not as life-threatening as Delta or the other variants. We’re seeing far fewer deaths. Severity is also much lower. What is really our concern now is ensuring that our hospitals can accommodate everyone who needs care. And the greatest constraint right now is really health care workers getting sick and having to isolate.”

“It’s really a matter of personnel management, at this point, so we hope that the DOH can help us by releasing guidelines, identifying funding sources for HRH augmentation in extreme cases, and perhaps even in-campus dorms for healthcare workers who are afraid of infecting their own families,” Salceda appealed.

Relieve pressure off urban hospitals

Salceda also noted that the hospitals of provinces’ or regions’ urban centers are getting the bulk of COVID-19 cases, with patients from both within and outside the city, while district hospitals are getting fewer admissions. This, Salceda warns, could cause cities to have to declare higher alert levels, as hospital capacity remains a key factor for the decision.

“It could cause severe local economic disruption, as cities are the economic engines of provinces and regions, too.”

“District hospitals should be utilized as well. In Albay, our experience is that most people prefer to go to the capital city’s hospital. This has caused a scenario where the ICU utilization rate for the rest of the province is zero, while the main public hospital in Legazpi is now at 90% plus ICU utilization.”

“It’s an allocation problem more than a capacity problem. That is why I appeal to the DOH to help ease pressure off urban hospitals by releasing guidelines on how to optimize the use of district hospitals. In Albay, we have already activated the triangular system, where the three districts try their best to accommodate patients in district hospitals first before referring them to the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City.” #

Other Press Releases
The AO will make food cheaper. Right now, it’s very difficult as an honest exporter to sell food to the Philippines.
Read More
Statement on the pronouncements against the Public Service Act amendments (RA 11659)
Read More
Statement on the February 2024 jobs report
Read More
Statement on the March 2024 inflation figures
Read More