J.R. Borja General Hospital: Quality hospital care for the poor

Aug 27, 2014

by Mike Baños, Editor-at-Large


The J.R. Borja General Hospital of Cagayan de Oro City is aiming to be the country’s premier local government hospital by 2016.


Dept. of Health Usec. Nemesio T. Gako and Associate Justice Romulo V. Borja cut the ribbon for the new East Wing (DOH) building with the assistance of Mayor Oscar S. Moreno during the 51st Anniversary of J.R. Borja General Hospital 25 August 2014. Justice Borja is the son of former mayor Justiniano R. Borja in whose honor the city-owned and operated hospital is named. Also in photo are City Health Officer Fe C. Bongas and the city's first lady Arlene P. Moreno. (photo courtesy of Mike Baños, NPN/Post-Prod by S.A.Y.Uy)


During a presentation made during the  JRBGH’s 51st founding anniversary last August 25, Dr. Ramon M. Nery, Hospital Executive Officer, said this lofty target should be attained “with fiscal autonomy and preferential option for the poor and under privileged.”


“The magnitude and complexity of problems confronting organizations is relative to the person/s solving them,” noted Dr. Nery, who was cited as the 2011 The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Awardee for Community/Public Service. “Our country is not devoid of heroes. There will always be a Filipino willing to stand up and be counted when needed.”


The TOFIL Award was conceived by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate Philippines in 1988 to institutionalize public recognition of men and women, 41 years of age and over, whose exemplary achievements are worthy of emulation.


As one of the main items listed in the administration’s Eight-Point Agenda, the Moreno administration first placed the J.R. Borja General Hospital under the management of the City Health Office and Dr. Fe C. Bongcas. The synergy of the two agencies which had previously operated independently of each other was immediately evident.


According to figures presented by Dr. Nery, the JRBGH’s historical bed occupancy rate immediately improved for the first seven months of 2014 to 135.81% from 78.46% in the same period of the previous year. The patients’ average length of stay likewise lengthened to 5.54 days from the previous 4.47.


“From being underutilized, we are now operating at over capacity,” noted Dr. Nery.


Comparative figures from hospital operations likewise show a remarkable improvement.


The new Emergency Room of the J.R. Borja General Hospital's East Wing ( DOH) Building boasts of brand new equipment purchased with the LGU counterpart fund of Cagayan de Oro city. (photo courtesy of Mike Baños, NPN/Post-Prod by S.A.Y.Uy)


For the 1st semester of 2014 (Jan-June), in-patients attended to jumped 40% to 4,439 from only 3,176 in the previous period. Outpatients also increased 16.3% to 16,476 from the previous period, and a remarkable 60% compared to the same period of the year before under the previous management.


Emergency room cases attended to increased 15.3% to 11,435 while operations rocketed 50% to 532 from the previous period, including 73 surgical cases done recently by the visiting Interplast Australia and New Zealand surgical team under the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro’s “Operation Put-A-Smile”.


To enable the JRBGH to cope with the increase in patients attended to, a total of 32 new employees were hired to bolster the existing plantilla of 61, including visiting staff nurses (20), visiting consultants (12), physicians (2), nursing attendants (2), medical technologists (2) and a pharmacist and engineer. Total hospital staff to date now number 93.


“We have a power house team to do the management and as our staff sees the progress we have gained, we now have  their commitment and motivation,” Dr. Nery said.


Besides Dr. Nery, the JRBGH executive team also includes Dr. Evelyn C. Perez, Chief of Hospital; Dr. Rose P. Salta, Asst. Chief of Hospital; Dr. Ramon Moreno, Chairman of the City Health Board and Dr. Ignacio Moreno, consultant.


The Past and Present Faces of JR Borja General Hospital: Associate Justice Romulo V. Borja is the son of Mayor Justiniano R. Borja who established the City Hospital in 1963. Today, Mayor Oscar S. Moreno has made the upgrading of the JRBGH one of the pillars of his administration and aims to make it the premier LGU hospital in the country by 2016. (photo courtesy of Mike Baños, NPN/Post-Prod by S.A.Y.Uy)


Most impressive perhaps as an indication of its capability to sustain its gains is the improvement in the hospital’s finances.


“Total hospital income for January to July 14, 2014 further increased by PhP 11.838-million, or 176 percent over the PhP 6.745-M for the same period last year,” Dr. Nery noted, citing the key role played by the City Health Insurance Office under Ms, Ma. Lourdes Gaane.


Compared to the same period in 2012, total hospital income in 2013 also posted a 136% hike mostly due to the increasing share of Philhealth remittances to 77% compared to 56% in 2012 and even further to 81% for 2014, he added.


“We now also have the monetary assistance program from the DOH which enables us to accommodate charity patients who are given monetary assistance (whom we have previously been unable to enroll),” Dr. Nery explained. “It is not only hospital financing that enables us to do this, but even more so the efficient management of the hospital.”


“Leadership is just as important to sustain our gains,” Mayor Oscar M. Moreno said. “The people will look for leaders who will sustain what we started.”


“If the local chief executive does not give priority to health, it becomes a problem,” said Dr. Ramon Moreno. “So we at the local health board will try to institutionalize a strong system that will continue as part of the local health system  regardless of who the local chief executive is.”


Health Undersecretary Nemesio T. Gako concurs, noting DOH can only do so much since it is the LGU actually implements health care systems “on the ground”.


“The actual action is on the ground. DOH can assist in terms of policies, guidelines, operations, we can train people, provide equipment, etc. but we are happy the chief executive now is making health a priority,” he said. “It’s a great difference to have continuity and sustainability on the ground, and how the institution and the system will be operated by the people themselves.”


During the JRBGH’s 51st founding anniversary last August 25, the DOH as represented by Usec. Gako turned over to the city government the new three storey East Wing (DOH) building which houses its new Emergency Room (ER), laboratory, X-ray, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on the ground floor; nine wards (with six beds per ward) in the second floor, and 12 private rooms and four suites in the third floor. 


DOH Usec. Nemesio T. Gako delivers his tribute to the JR Borja Gen. Hospital during its 51st founding anniversary last August 25. Dr Gako has a long relationship with the city as a former City Health Officer and DOH Regional Director for Northern Mindanao. (photo courtesy of Mike Baños, NPN/Post-Prod by S.A.Y.Uy)


“The East Wing (DOH) building is a P45-million DOH Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP) infrastructure project,” Dr. Nery said. “The Cagayan de Oro City Government provided a P14.6-million counterpart fund to purchase hospital beds, machines and equipment for the new building. It is fully air conditioned to give indigent patients the best accommodation possible.” 


The HFEP is a banner program of the Aquino administration which aims to upgrade health facilities and train health professionals to improve people’s access to quality health care. Previously known as the Philippine Hospital Development Plan (PHPD), it has a PhP 46.5-billion budget to develop 256 LGU District Hospitals, 70 provincial hospitals, 10 city hospitals and 70 DOH-retained hospitals.


Associate Justice Romulo V. Borja, representing the family of his late father, Mayor Justiniano “Tiñing” Borja, was present for the turnover and recalled how the 100-bed JRBGH was established by the late mayor as the “Cagayan de Oro City Hospital” in 1963. It is the only local government hospital serving Cagayan de Oro City which has an estimated 2014 population of 669,443.


The hospital was renamed the “J.R.Borja Memorial City Hospital” by Mayor Jesus V. Seriña in 1967 in honor of its founder who passed away in 1964.  City Ordinance No. 10209-2006 later renamed it “J.R. Borja General Hospital”. 


In 1990, then City Mayor Pablo P. Magtajas announced plans to upgrade JRBGH to a modern Level III hospital with a 500-bed capacity 3-storey building. In 1998-1999 construction started on the 3 storey South Wing Bldg with funding from the Priority Development Assistant Fund of then Sen. Aquilino Q.  Pimentel, Jr.


However, the Emano administration chose not to pursue the project and it was only in 2005 when the DOH provided funds to complete the 3-storey South Wing building. In 2010, the initial utilization of the patient wards was started but it was only when the Moreno administration took over in 2012 that the project was resumed.


Brand new gurneys at the new Emergency Room of the J.R. Borja General Hospital. (photo courtesy of Mike Baños, NPN/Post-Prod by S.A.Y.Uy)


The Operating Room/Delivery Room/Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) complex was transferred to the South Wing ground floor in June 2013 and its 3rd floor inaugurated last April 3, 2014.


Construction of the East Wing building started in January 2013 with PhP 20-M from the HFEP. The second and third floors followed in March with the release of the second tranche of PhP 20-M and the whole edifice completed in March 2014 with the release of the final PhP5-M.  The PhP14.6-M local counterpart of the LGU was used to complete the 2nd floor and other civil works in July 2014.


–          I N D N J C –

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