Pushes for improvements in services of public hospitals.
SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go attended on Tuesday the opening of the 66th Malasakit Center in the country at the Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City. In his speech, the senator reiterated his commitment to improve the capacity and capabilities of public hospitals to cater to the needs of their communities.
Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop for indigent and financially incapacitated patients who need medical and financial assistances from relevant government agencies, specifically the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“Zero balance po ang target ng Malasakit Center,” explained Go, who serves as the chair of the Senate committee on health and demography. He is also the main author of the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, which mandates the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all 73 DoH-run hospitals in the country and at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
Public hospitals run by local government units may also have their own Malasakit Centers provided they meet the standards and criteria set by the Implementating Rules and Regulations which was recently signed. This is to ensure sustainability of operations and consistency of the quality of service of Malasakit Centers around the country.
“Sisiguraduhin natin na hindi bungi-bungi ang serbisyo ng gobyerno. Hindi na po kailangan pumunta sa iba’t ibang opisina. Sa Malasakit Center, iisang kwarto nalang po pupuntahan para makahingi ng tulong na pampagamot ang mga nangangailangan,” he explained.
“Basta Pilipino ka, pwede ka makakuha ng tulong sa Malasakit Center,” Go added.
Go shared that the Malasakit Center aims to help patients or their representatives save time and resources. He also said that it will have a priority lane for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
To further help Filipino patients and government hospitals, the senator said that he filed Senate Bill No. 1226, or the proposed DoH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act of 2019, which aims to “expedite the process for improving the capacity and capability” of the hospitals.
Under the proposed law, the DoH will be given the authority to set and approve the bed capacity and service capability of the 73 DoH-retained hospitals in different parts of the country. Under the current regulations, a government-owned hospital can only increase its bed capacity through an act of Congress, a process that Go is disatisfied with.
“Ang tagal masyado. Ang dami pang kailangang daanan,” the senator said, adding that there should be a better and faster way for government to improve the capacities and capabilities of its public health institutions.
“Nakita ninyo ang mga hospital? Minsan nakahilera sa labas ang mga kama at dalawang pasyente ang nasa isang kama. Paano gagaling ang pasyente? Masikip. Magkakahawaan pa ‘yan diyan,” he added.
Go also shared that he supported President Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) No. 104 dated February 17, 2020, which lowers the prices of select drugs, including essential medicines most commonly prescribed to patients.
“Isinulong ko ‘yan kay Pangulong Duterte dahil nauunawaan ko na mahirap talaga magkasakit,” Go said.
As recommended by DoH and echoed by various senators, including Go, the President signed the E.O. in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9502 or the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2008, which grants the President of the Philippines the power to impose maximum retail prices over drugs and medicines sold in the country.
“Sa mga negosyate, balansehin natin ang lahat. Magnegosyo kayo, ok naman ‘yan, pero isipin din ninyo na itong mga pasyente, bibili na lang talaga ng gamot. Kailan ba kayo nakakita ng bumibili ng gamot na humihingi ng discount? Magbabayad na lang sila nang diretso kasi gusto nilang gumaling agad ang pasyente,” the Senator said.
Before attending the launching of the Malasakit Center, Go went to Cebu City to distribute financial and relief assistances to victims of fires that recently hit Barangays Luz, Kasambagan, Duljo Fatima and T. Padilla.
After the launch, the Senator proceeded to distribute similar assistances to the victims of fires at Barangays Tabok and Centro in Mandaue City.