Senate approves bill establishing regional specialty centers on final reading  ​


 
 
The Senate has approved Senate Bill No. 2212 or the bill establishing regional specialty centers on third and final reading.
 
The proposed Regional Specialty Centers Act is one of the priority measures in the Common Legislative Agenda of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC). 
 
“This bill is a shot in the arm of our public health system. To borrow a medical term, it is a major transfusion of resources to government hospitals in the regions, nearer to the sick who need affordable care,” said Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, principal author and co-sponsor of the measure.
 
Under the bill, specialty centers would be established under Department of Health (DOH)-run hospitals across the country, in an effort to decentralize the services of specialty centers such as the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), the Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), which are all located in Manila Manila.
 
This way, patients from the provinces need not travel to Manila for access to medical treatment.
 
“For the sick, the journey to big cities for treatment is the road to bankruptcy. Not only is the hospital bill enormous, transient stay is also expensive,” Zubiri noted.
 
“What little money has been begged or borrowed end up being spent on lodging of carers instead of cure. The individual patient may survive, but family finances will not. If the people cannot go to where excellent care are, then government must bring excellent medical care to them,” he said. 
 
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. pushed for the passage of the measure to make medical services more accessible outside Metro Manila during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). 
 
“This bill closes the gap between the sick and hospitals, both in terms of distance and cost. Not only does it improve care delivery, it lessens the financial trauma of families as well,” the Senate President stressed.
 
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, and sponsor of the measure, also reiterated the invaluable role of Filipinos in shaping public policies especially on the country’s healthcare system.
 
"Today, your voices have been heard. Let us continue to work hand in hand, united in our commitment for the well-being of our community,” Go said.
 
"Ito pong regional specialty centers ay isang paraan para mailapit natin ang serbisyo medikal sa ating mga kababayan lalung-lalo na po yung mga mahihirap (These regional specialty centers are a way for us to bring medical services closer to our countrymen, especially the poor),” he added.
 
Once enacted into law, the DOH would be required to allocate capital outlay investments through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) and work closely with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to help in staffing, securing positions for healthcare workers serving in these facilities. 
 
Senators who authored the bill are Zubiri, Senate Majority Floor Leader Joel Villanueva, Senators Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Pia Cayetano, Jinggoy Estrada, Imee Marcos, Robin Padilla, Sherwin Gatchalian, Francis Escudero, Ronald dela Rosa, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Cynthia Villar and Loren Legarda.
 
It was also co-authored by Senators Francis Tolentino, Raffy Tulfo and all other members of the Senate.