Policy Analysis on Determining Hospital Bed Capacity in Light of Universal Health Care
Background. Through the years of improving quality health service delivery, hospital bed capacity in the Philippines has remained to be a persistent challenge. In light of the aim of the Universal Health Care Act to protect and promote the right to health of every Filipino, one metric used to identify areas that are in most need or are under served, is the number of public hospital beds vis a vis the catchment population.
Methods. The systematic review of literature was utilized to generate a policy brief presented to the invited stakeholders of the policy issue for the roundtable discussion participated by all key stakeholders of the policy issue. Evidence and insights were thematically analyzed to generate consensus policy recommendations.
Results. With the current hospital bed availability and maldistribution, the Philippines still faces compounded issues in addressing healthcare demands. Currently, the request for increasing bed capacity is done through legislation. In context, this request is also parallel in expanding service capacity through the allocation of more funds and personnel. The ratio of private and charity beds must ensure to have equity among all patients of varying segments of the population. Enjoining private hospitals to share bed capacity for public service was also explored given appropriate subsidies.
Conclusion and Recommendation. To ensure equity in health service delivery, it is imperative to assess, strategize, and conduct prioritization of the needs of government hospitals for increased bed capacity, considering the distribution, socio-demographic profile, and health needs of the catchment population.