In 1933, Bicol Medical Center started as a 25-bed provincial hospital housed in a rented vintage residential Spanish house at then Mabini Street, now Penafrancia Avenue under the leadership of Dr. Francisco Gomez. Facilities were extremely inadequate that the hospital was closed in 1936. The Camarines Sur Provincial Government then subsidized a private hospital owned by the late Dr. Arsenio Imperial to fill the need for a provincial hospital but admissions were limited.
The year 1940 marked a milestone in the annals of the health care program in Camarines Sur. The blueprint of the present hospital was finalized that year and construction began. A sprawling 150,000-square-meter, 1-story-hospital-building was finished in 1941 but the Japanese invaded during World War II and the hospital never got to be inaugurated. It was looted by both Japanese soldiers and Filipino opportunists leaving the building completely bare. Nevertheless, the hospital operated through sheer determination and perseverance of its staff amidst hardship, insurmountable obstacles and grave danger. The hospital was in full operation when it was converted into barracks for the Japanese. It therefore became target for American bombing and the hospital eventually was in ruins.
In 1945, under the auspices of the Philippine Civilian Affairs Unit of the American Government, the hospital managed to rise again. Facilities were scarce and beds were made from available materials-the native bamboo.
In 1946-1947, the Institution became a recipient of the United States Reparation Forces for damages wrought by the war. Under the leadership of Dr. Ricardo de Castro as Chief of Hospital, facilities were improved and the hospital bed capacity was increased from 25 to 50 and then 75. He resigned in the immediate post-war era (1949). Dr. Salvador Ibanez under whose term buildings were put up succeeded him. These were the Chief’s Quarters, Resident Physician’s Quarters, Nurses’ Dormitory, Hospital Garage and the Laundry building.
In 1955, the first Nursing School in Bicol, the University of Nueva Caceres, School of Nursing, affiliated with the hospital. There was much to be done, Dr. Vicente Trinidad became Vice-Chief to Dr. Ibanez.
In 1959, the Out-Patient Department Building was constructed. The hospital continued to grow and the hospital bed capacity was also increased to 100 in the same year.
In 1961, the hospital was upgraded and authorized to operate on a 150-bed capacity. A Polio Department was constructed which eventually housed the Medical Ward. Care and treatment of mental patients on an out-patient basis was also provided for, although management was then, still under the direct supervision of the National Mental Hospital.
In 1970, the affiliation of the different schools of nursing and midwifery was approved and medical interns were accepted. This facilitated upgrading of the hospital bed capacity to 200. More construction ensued for the Pay and Medicare patients annex with the release of P1 million pesos by the Ministry of Public Works and Highways in 1975.
By 1977, the Pay Medical, Obstetrical and Pediatric patients including the Veterans and Medicare patients were transferred to the then quite unfinished quarter-portion of the new building. Simultaneously, the following were also constructed: the Administrative Officer’s Quarters, power house, metal water tank and the Pay Building for Contagious Diseases while the laundry building and Nurses’ dormitory underwent renovation.
In 1978, the hospital was designated the Provincial Hospital of Camarines Sur. Under the strong leadership of Dr. Olivia Dumlao-Gaerlan, thorough face-lift programs like beautification of the premises and intensive cleanliness drive were implemented. Dr. Gaerlan enforced personnel discipline and enhanced the training programs. She started the position paper to upgrade the hospital from Provincial Hospital to the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital.
In 1979, the hospital bed capacity was further increased to 250-beds.
In 1984, the integration of Don Susano J Rodriguez Memorial Mental Hospital (DSJRMMH), a 200-bed hospital in Cadlan, Pili as part of the Regional Teaching and Training Hospital now increased the total hospital bed complement to 450. This resulted in budgetary constraints, shortage of personnel, limited equipment and minimal infrastructure outlays.
With the implementation of EO No. 851 which called for integrated health and hospital services, a provincial hospital in Camarines Sur distinct from the designated regional hospital was necessary. There being none, the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) also assumed its former role of provincial hospital in Camarines Sur and continued to do so.
In 1988, Dr. Felipe S. del Rosario became the Chief of Hospital. Pursuant to RA 7454 the Camarines Sur Provincial hospital was converted to Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital. However, the designation as a Regional Hospital had no corresponding increase in its appropriation.
The Emergency Room Medical and Ancillary (ERMA) building was constructed during this period.
In spite upgraded facilities as a regional hospital and trained health care workers, there was need for a well-equipped tertiary hospital where the poor and disadvantaged may seek medical consultation and treatment that otherwise may only be available in Manila.
On June 15, 1995, during the incumbency of President Fidel Ramos, RA No. 8053 lapsed into law. With an additional 50 more bed capacity, Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital was now the Bicol Medical Center with bed capacity for 500. It was also in the same year that the Center was designated as Center for Wellness under the leadership of Dr. Adan R. Eva.
As an upgraded medical center, there were 120 more new and 42 reclassified positions. There was acquisition of basic as well as sophisticated equipments like a 2-Dimensional echocardiogram, stress test, laparoscopy and endoscopy sets, and others. Capital outlay was spent for the construction of various buildings such as the BMC Auditorium, Andaya Hall, Library, Pay Ward building, dormitories, Chief nurse and CMPS quarters, Laundry, Maintenance, and additional wards at the Psychiatric Department.
In 1998, three (3) more positions were added under the National Voluntary Blood Donations Program, increasing the manpower complement to 543. Nevertheless, this manpower is only 72% of the standard requirement for a 300-bed-capacity medical center. This does not include a manpower requirement of 198 for a 200-bed mental ward.