MANILA – Reps. Paolo Duterte (Davao City, 1st District) and Eric Yap (Lone District of Benguet) jointly filed a proposed measure aiming to create regional specialty centers across the country in order to make health services more accessible.
House Bill (HB) No. 6857 or the Regional Specialty Hospitals Act intends to establish regional branches of specialty hospitals, such as the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Philippine Cancer Center.
“This is to provide access to affordable and quality healthcare services to all Filipinos, especially to those who are in the far-flung areas of the country,” Duterte said in his explanatory note.
Duterte said most Filipino patients with serious illnesses would opt to see experienced doctors.
“However, 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,” he noted.
Yap, on the other hand, said the Department of Health (DOH) has crafted a development plan for specialty care as part of the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan 2020-2040, which primarily includes the development of 328 specialty centers across different hospitals in all regions.
“In addition, no less than the Local Government Code of 1991 itself has devolved the health services to the LGUs (local government units) with the objective of making quality health services easily accessible to every Filipino. The case of decentralizing specialty hospitals is no different,” he said.
Yap said the 1987 Constitution guarantees an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development that is endeavored in making health services available to the people at an affordable cost.
The measure ensures that three years upon its enactment, at least one specialty hospital should be built in Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Southern Mindanao.
The DOH will have the mandate on the type of specialty hospital that would be built first in the said regions in accordance with the prevailing illnesses identified in those areas. (PNA)