Press Release/12 November 2012:
Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona today declared that the new guidelines on the classification of hospitals and other health facilities will result to improved health services for the people.
Under the Department of Health’s (DOH) Administrative Order 2012-0012, signed last July 18, 2012, a health facility must have, among others, an operating room to be considered a Level 1 hospital. The AO conforms to the mandate of Republic Act No. 4226, the Hospital Licensure Act, which requires a hospital to have surgical and ancillary services for its operation to be permitted.
The previous DOH guidelines did not require Level 1 hospitals to have an operating room and those health facilities with functioning operating rooms were considered Level 2 hospitals. Health facilities previously classified as Level 1 hospitals without operating rooms will now be considered as primary care facilities.
As of 2011, there were 733 government and 1,088 private hospitals, with 372 government and 399 private Level 1 hospitals under the old classification.
“With the new classification of hospitals and other health facilities, we are ensuring that all our hospitals have the minimum capacity to render emergency surgical care, such as cesarean sections and appendectomies,” Ona said.
AO 2012-0012 classifies hospitals in the Philippines based on ownership (government or private), scope of services (general or specialized), and functional capacity (level 1, 2 or 3).
Among others, a Level 1 hospital must have an operating room to be able to provide surgical services. A Level 2 hospital has all of Level 1 capacity and must be departmentalized, equipped to be able to provide services in the specialties of medicine, surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics-gynecology and has an intensive care unit. A Level 3 hospital has all of Level 2 capacity plus a residency or teaching program.
Ona also said that the DOH’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program will upgrade government district hospitals without operating rooms for these facilities to be able to comply with the new guidelines. As of March 2012, an estimated 137 out of 283 district hospitals classified as Level 1 hospitals in the previous system have no operating rooms. For 2013, P 2.3 billion will be used to upgrade these district hospitals.
“Patients needing surgical care who are brought to some of our district hospitals often have to be referred to provincial or regional hospitals. With our new guidelines and with the upgrading of our district hospitals under the health facilities enhancement program, our patients are assured of timely surgical care,” Ona concluded.