FIRST District Rep. Paolo Duterte and three colleagues have proposed the setting up specialty hospitals in key regions so that those who are living outside the National Capital Region.
Duterte, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, and ACT-CIS Reps. Jeffrey Soriano and Edvic Yap filed House Bill 6857 which proposes the establishment of these hospitals, whose type will be determined by the Department of Hospital based on the prevailing illnesses in the areas where they are located.
The proposal identifies the location of the hospitals as Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao.
These hospitals will become units of the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and the soon-to-be established Philippine Cancer Center.
The lawmakers said this is necessary as most of the specialty hospitals are in Metro Manila.
“In order to afford the expertise of [these] hospitals’ medical professionals and its advanced amenities and equipment, patients are being encumbered by the additional expenses on transportation and accommodation for their medical needs to be catered, most especially those that are from far-flung areas or provinces,” read the explanatory note of the proposal.
Duterte said the proposal will “ensure that affordable, quality healthcare is accessible to most Filipinos.”
“Many Filipinos flock to the specialty hospitals located in Metro Manila because they offer quality medical care and treatment that are more affordable than those available in private hospitals. Establishing branches of the Heart Center, the Kidney Institute and other government-run specialty hospitals in strategic areas in the country will help address the widening inequity in healthcare,” he said.
“Our proposed measure will bring specialty health care closer to people living in the provinces,” he added as the proposal, if enacted into law, will pave the way for the setting up of these hospitals within three years.
It will also secure a P5 billion contribution from the national government for the “initial establishment, operations and maintenance” of these hospitals, while the succeeding budgets will be provided through the General Appropriations Act.
The DOH has crafted a development plan for specialty care as part of the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan (PHFDP) 2020-2040 which primarily includes the development of 328 specialty centers across different hospitals in all regions of the country.
Aside from hospital operations, the regional branches are also tasked to promote, encourage and engage in scientific research on the prevention of heart, kidney, liver, cancer, and pulmonary diseases.
The regional branches should also aim to, among others, assist universities, hospitals and research institutions in the studies of these diseases; and encourage or undertake the training of physicians, other medical personnel, and social workers on the practical and scientific conduct and implementation of services related to these diseases.
The proposal also specifies that all the privileges being enjoyed by Metro Manila-based specialty hospitals will also be provided to these regional hospitals.
“The national government shall constitute the necessary land, building, equipment and facilities, to the regional branches of the specialty hospital, and shall pay such obligations for real, personal and mixed properties arising from such undertaking under a deferred payment arrangement within five (5) years at a preferred rate of interest,” according to the bill.
“In addition, no less than the Local Government Code (LGC) itself has devolved the health services to the local government units (LGUs) with the objective of making quality health services more accessible to every Filipino. The case of decentralizing specialty hospitals is no different,” the authors said.
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