Specialty hospitals operated by the Department of Health (DOH) all received higher budgets for 2023 so they can serve more patients, particularly those who cannot afford the cost of treatment, Senator Sonny Angara said on Friday, February 3.
As such, Filipinos can now travel to Manila to seek medical help from these specialty hospitals, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance said.
"Every year we provide additional funds to our specialty hospitals. Many of our compatriots who are seriously ill are unable to seek medical treatment due to poverty," Angara said in Filipino.
"They are the main beneficiaries of the services provided by these facilities, so we have ensured that there is additional funding for them every year," the senator also said.
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 a total of almost P7-billion.
This amount represents a P1.1-billion increase from the P5.8-billion they received In 2022 and a P2-billion hike from the P4.9-billion under the 2023 budget.
Angara said the Lung Center of the Philippines has a total of P835.2-million this year, up from the P683.9-million it received in 2022.
The National Kidney and Transplant Institute was given P1.7 billion for this year, an increase from the P1.6-billion allocation in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center has a total budget of P2.1-billion for 2023, higher than the P1.5-billion that was provided in 2022.
The Philippine Heart Center's budget was increased to P2.1-billion, up from P1.8-billion in 2022 while the Philippine Institute of Traditional Alternative Health Care was provided with a total of P156.2-million this year.
This year's budget also provided the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth with a subsidy of P100.2-billion for the implementation of the Universal Health Care law to help cover treatment cost.
Angara said he is also working to bring these specialized health services 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," he said.
"Eventually we want bring these services closer to them with the establishment of satellite specialty hospitals,” the senator stressed.
The senator earlier filed Senate Bill No. 93, which seeks to establish satellite specialty hospitals in provinces that are geographically isolated from their regions’ tertiary care hospitals.
The bill mandates the creation of satellite specialty hospitals in identified regions to be managed and operated pursuant to their respective charters.