8 hospitals eyed as COVID-19 testing labs

THE Department of Health released on their Facebook page a list of hospitals being eyed to conduct COVID-19 testing, noting that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is capacitating the chosen hospitals.

The list includes Lung Center of the Philippines, Bicol Public Health Laboratory, Victoriano Luna Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center – BGC, St. Luke’s Medical Center – QC, Makati Medical Center, Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, among many others.

The DOH said that as of March 30, there are 6 laboratories that are on full scale implementation of COVID-19 testing. These are Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center and the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health.

The DOH said there are five stages in certifying laboratories for COVID-19 testing.

Currently, 30 hospitals are at Stage 1 or self-assessment stage, where the laboratory will conduct self-assessment using the tool that the RITM provided.

The self-assessment checks on the following:

Access to the laboratory

Design of the laboratory

Use of laboratory safety equipment

Administrative control and management

Records and documentation

Personnel practices and training

Meanwhile, 13 health facilities are at Stage 2 or validation stage, where DOH will conduct an onsite visit to their laboratories to check the correctness of the self-assessment.

At Stage 3, DOH will launch training for the personnel of the applicant hospitals. Right now, there are five health facilities at Stage 3 including the following:

Western Visayas Medical Center

Bicol Public Health Laboratory

Victoriano Luna Hospital

St. Luke's Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig

St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City

The DOH only authorizes COVID-19 testing in hospitals that are at the Stage 4 or proficiency testing stage and at the Stage 5 or full scale implementation stage.

At Stage 4, hospitals may already accept COVID-19 samples, but first need to test five positive samples as confirmed by the RITM. The Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) is the only health facility at proficiency testing stage as of posting time.

When all five positive samples are confirmed by the RITM, the hospital will reach Stage 5 with a certification for COVID-19 testing.