Regional branches of Metro specialty hospitals eyed by these solons

Davao City 1st district Reps. Paolo Duterte, Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Go Yap, and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Jeffrey Soriano are batting for the creation of regional specialty hospitals across the country.

Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte (left) and Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Go Yap

For this purpose, the three solons filed House Bill (HB) No.6857, or the proposed Regional Specialty Hospitals Act. The bill intends to establish regional branches of specialty hospitals in the Philippines, which--unfortunately for those living in the countryside--are concentrated in Metro Manila.

These are the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and the Philippine Cancer Center.

“This is to provide access to affordable and quality healthcare services to all Filipinos, through the provision of specialty hospitals in the different regions of the country,” Duterte said.

Duterte explained that the country’s great majority frequently opts for specialty hospitals in the country or the ones that specialize in a particular disease or condition.

“However, in order to afford the expertise of the 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, pointed out that the Department of Health (DOH) has crafted a development plan for specialty care as part of the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan (PHFDP) 2020-2040, which primarily includes the development of 328 specialty centers across different hospitals in all regions in the country.

“In addition, no less than the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC) itself has devolved the health services to the LGUs with the objective of making quality health services easily accessible to every Filipino. The case of decentralizing specialty hospitals are no different,” Yap added.

The proposed statute also ensures that three years upon its enactment, at least one specialty hospital should be built in the Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Southern Mindanao.

The three lawmakers said it would be up to the DOH to determine what type of specialty hospital would be built first in the regions.