College of Med

Leyte 5th District Representative Carl Nicolas C. Cari happily announced yesterday, February 8, 2023, the approval at the House Committee level of proposed legislation that will soon make way for the offering of a Doctor of Medicine (MD) program at the Visayas State University’s flagship campus in Baybay City, Leyte.

Congressman Cari serves as the primary author of House Bill No. 4553, which is an act that seeks to establish a VSU College of Medicine with the corresponding appropriation of funds from the national government.

Baguio City Lone District Representative Mark O. Go sponsored this bill to the House Committee on Ways and Means currently chaired by Albay 2nd District Representative Jose Ma. Clemente ‘Joey’ S. Salceda.

On his official Facebook page, Congressman Cari also revealed that his proposed measure has been approved with no amendments making him hope that this will result in a smooth passage in both Congress and the Senate.

“I am looking forward to bringing this opportunity to the future Leyteño doctors who hope to dedicate their lives to [serve] the Filipino people. I remain optimistic about the smooth passage of this bill on the Second and Third Reading of the lower chamber, as well as its approval in the Senate, and by the Office of the President,” the young legislator said.

Med_1.jpgCong. Carl Nicolas C. Cari shook the hands of his colleagues in Congress after the swift approval of his proposed measure at a special session of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Photo courtesy of Carl Cari's Facebook page.

If approved into law, the VSU College of Medicine will become the first state university in Eastern Visayas to offer a Doctor of Medicine program that will hopefully boost the local health industry in the region. 

Currently, only one private institution in Region 8 is offering a medicine course at the Doña Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Medical Foundation based in Tacloban City. A similar bill is also in the works now for Samar State University to cater to the medical manpower needs of the entire Samar island.

The offering of a medicine course at VSU was first officially reported by VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin to the Viscan community during his most recent State of the University Address held on November 21, last year.

Just like Congressman Cari, Dr. Tulin is equally hopeful that this proposed legislation will soon become law and that a feasibility study has already been conducted for the viability of offering this graduate degree program at VSU.

“This is great news for all of us Viscans and I’m confident that House Bill 4553 will be prioritized by our national government officials considering the pressing need of strengthening our local health sector which has been greatly affected by an ongoing global pandemic. VSU is very ready for this challenge because we have a proven track record when it comes to offering quality programs with our very own College of Nursing now being seen as one of the best nursing schools in this part of our country. We are all grateful to the dynamic leadership of Congressman Carl Cari and Mayor Boying Cari for their trust and confidence in our beloved university to make this aspiration a reality,” the VSU President shared.

The VSU College of Nursing (CoN) has just been recently named the Top 1 performing school in the recently administered Nursing Licensure Examination (NLE) for producing an impressive 50 new Viscan nurses in the November 2022 boards. 

Since 2015, the VSU nursing program has continuously obtained a 100% passing mark for its graduates making it the best nursing school in the Eastern Visayas region.

Baybay City’s aspiration to become a healthcare powerhouse

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local government of Baybay City realized the importance of investing in the healthcare sector, especially since as the provincial component city, Baybay LGU is also expected to serve and support the greater medical needs of the entire Western Leyte.

While massive investment has been poured to construct a brand new public hospital including new health facilities to cater to the growing medical needs of Baybayanons including the residents of the 5th district of Leyte, the local government officials understood that infrastructure development is just but one of the many ways in which health services can be improved.

Med_2.jpgThe new public hospital at Baybay City was recently renamed the Immaculate Concepcion Hospital (ICH), formerly the Western Leyte Provincial Hospital (WLPH). Photo courtesy of ICH Facebook page.

Informed of this, Baybay City Mayor Jose Carlos L. Cari thought that health infrastructure is only as good as its available medical manpower which to him remains to be a pressing challenge as of now. 

Mayor Cari is convinced that since Baybay City’s health services are no longer confined to his current constituency and that the neighboring 8 municipalities rely on his city for their basic medical needs, offering a local medical school will surely provide a long-term solution to the current medical manpower limitations of the local government.

That’s why having a medical school in VSU will surely address this specific need that will soon put Baybay City as one of the regional powerhouses in terms of providing quality and affordable healthcare services to the public.

The current Immaculate Concepcion Hospital (ICH) which is directly managed and publicly funded by the Baybay City LGU has just been equipped with modern facilities and equipment that used to be available only in bigger cities.

Recently, the ICH purchased a multi-million peso Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner together with an ultrasound machine that has already been opened for free public use since last year.

Med_3.jpgThis MRI scanner is funded by the Baybay City local government which is currently stationed at the Immaculate Concepcion Hospital (ICH). Photo courtesy of Alexius Norman.

On top of that, the old Western Leyte Provincial Hospital (WLPH) building has just been demolished to make way for the construction of the Baybay City Super Health Center which will soon provide free and affordable outpatient laboratory tests and other medical services for Baybayanons and the residents of the 5th District of Leyte.

The groundbreaking ceremony of this modern health facility was held in September of last year and is expected to be opened for public use in the next two years. The Baybay City Super Health Center will also serve as the new site of the City Health Office (CHO) which will become a one-stop-shop for all the outpatient medical services of the LGU.

Med_4.jpgA perspective view of the New Baybay City Super Health Center and New City Health Office located at the old WLPH compound. Photo courtesy of Carl Cari's Facebook page.

The provision of an enabling health infrastructure for the local government will surely complement the manpower investments that will be mainly addressed by the upcoming opening of the VSU College of Medicine.

Because of these, Baybay City will surely become a public healthcare destination hub not just for residents but also for other Leyteños who need quality but affordable medical services.

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