Gov't to establish 'Malasakit Centers' in Metro Manila

By Leilani Junio

July 13, 2018, 8:35 pm

MANILA -- The national government will soon set up "Malasakit Centers", one-stop shops that would enable indigents to avail of health services in hospitals in Metro Manila.

On Friday, the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) signed a Joint Administrative Order (JAO) to unburden indigent patients of the documentary requirements for them to avail of various medical assistance and treatments in hospitals in Metro Manila.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said under the guidelines of the JAO on streamlining access to medical assistance, all the signatories agreed that medical costs will be covered by PhilHealth through the case rates, while PCSO will pay for various medical assistance for indigents.

"Non-medical help, on the other hand, such as transportation, shall be covered by DSWD," Duque said after the signing ceremony at Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMC) in Tayuman, Manila.

He added that the streamlining of the assistance is in line with the thrust of the Duterte administration to ensure indigents get medical treatment without queuing, as a system will facilitate the processing of the paper works.

"People will be able to feel that indeed the government is responsive and government agencies are sensitive to the needs of our people, especially those who are marginalized. The President is very persistent with the policy of bringing government closer to our people,” the health chief said.

"And this Joint Memorandum today, in that spirit, that we have come together, and our agencies have bonded together to precisely to aligned ourselves, our policies and our services in accordance with the desire of President Duterte," Duque added.

DSWD Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo said the agency right now is in the process of validating and "cleansing" its database and connect it to the public hospital system.

"We will introduce an ID system where every poor shall be recognized and will have immediate access to all our healthcare services," Orogo said.

Dr. Emmanuel Montaña, JRRMC chief, said the old system that some indigent patients went through when they are confined to hospitals will just be a thing of the past.

"Tatakbo ka sa PCSO, pupunta ka sa DSWD for other sources. Kailangan mo pa magbantay sa pasyente, maghanap ng dugo, gamot, at iba pang pangangailangan. Ngayon kami na po ang maghahanap (Before the family member of a confined patient will need to seek financial help from PCSO, DSWD and other sources. They need to look for blood [for transfusion], medicines and other needs. Now the hospital is the one that will be doing all those)," Montaña said.

According to the DOH, the Malasakit Center at the JRRMC is the first of its kind in the National Capital Region (NCR) but will soon be replicated in other government hospitals in Metro Manila.

Malasakit Centers have been set up in the Visayas region.

The hospitals in the Visayas region that have Malasakit Centers are the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Saint Anthony Mother and Child Hospital, Talisay District Hospital, Eversley Child Hospital, Gallares Hospital and Del Valle Hospital. (PNA)