The Philippine Heart Center (file photo)

MANILA – The specialty hospitals operated by the Department of Health (DOH) all received higher budgets this year to allow them to serve more patients who require treatment, particularly those who cannot afford it, Senator Sonny Angara said on Friday.

Under the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA), the Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center and the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care will receive around PHP7 billion.

This year’s amount represents over PHP1.1 billion increase from the PHP5.8 billion they received in 2022 and a PHP2 billion increase from the PHP4.9 billion under the 2023 National Expenditure Program.

Marami sa ating mga kababayan na may malubhang karamdaman ay hindi nagagawang magpagamot dahil sa kahirapan. Sila ang pangunahing nakikinabang sa serbisyong hatid ng mga pagamutang ito kaya siniguro natin na may dagdag na pondo para sa kanila kada taon (A lot of our people who have serious illness cannot afford treatment because of poverty. They are the primary beneficiaries of services provided by these hospitals that's why, we ensured that there are additional funds for them every year),” Angara said in a statement.

This year, the Lung Center of the Philippines was allocated PHP835.2 million which was higher than the PHP683.9 million it received in 2022.

For the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, PHP1.7 billion was allocated this year, increasing it from PHP1.6 billion last year.

The Philippine Children’s Medical Center has a total budget of PHP2.1 billion, which is higher than the PHP1.5 billion in 2022.

Around PHP2.1 billion was allocated for the Philippine Heart Center this year from PHP1.8 billion last year.

The Philippine Institute of Traditional Alternative Health Care was provided with a total of PHP156.2 million.

To help cover the cost of treatment of the patients, the 2023 GAA also provided the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation with a subsidy of PHP100.2 billion for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.

Apart from the annual increases in the budgets of the hospitals, Angara said these specialized services should also be brought closer to the people with the establishment of satellite specialty hospitals.

“Patients from all over the country travel to Manila to seek medical help from these specialty hospitals because the treatment that they require are usually not available at the medical facilities where they reside, or are too costly for them. Eventually, we want to bring these services closer to them with the establishment of satellite specialty hospitals,” Angara said.

One of Angara's filed measures this 19th Congress is the Senate Bill No. 93 which seeks to establish satellite specialty hospitals in provinces that are geographically isolated from their regions’ tertiary care hospitals.

Under the bill, the specialty hospitals will be required to establish satellite hospitals in identified regions to be managed and operated pursuant to their respective charters. (PNA)