December 11, 2019 - Wednesday
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Senate OKs Malasakit Center bill on third and final reading

November 12, 2019 - Tuesday 7:11 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image NATIONWIDE SOON. Senator Christopher Lawrence Go waves as he arrives for the opening of the Malasakit Center at the Compostela Valley Provincial Hospital on October 30, 2019. The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the law that would institutionalize the Malasakit Center nationwide. ARJOY M. CENIZA

The establishment of Malasakit Centers nationwide took an important step closer to implementation as the Senate on Monday, November 11, approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1076 authored and sponsored by Senator Christopher Lawrence Go.

Otherwise known as the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, the bill seeks to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all 73 hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH).

The bill aims to consolidate the financial assistance provided by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in one office so that patients or their representatives can save time and resources in availing themselves of assistance from the government. 

NOW OPEN. Senator Christopher Lawrence Go (fourth from left) leads the opening of the Malasakit Center at the Compostela Valley Provincial Hospital on October 30, 2019. ARJOY M. CENIZA

“The Malasakit Center is one of the solutions the Duterte government has developed to provide quick and quality access to healthcare to all Filipinos, regardless of their age, sex, ethnic background, religion, and political affiliation,” Go said in his speech at the Senate.

“We laud this august chamber for making this a priority and one of the first legislations to be approved on 3rd reading in the 18th Congress,” he added as the thanked his colleagues in the Senate for the support they gave in passing the measure.

He also thanked the DOH, DSWD, PCSO, PhilHealth, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and other government agencies “for their cooperation and commitment to ensure the successful implementation” of Malasakit Centers.

Under Senate Bill No. 1076, hospitals run by local government units (LGUs) and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the availability of funds for the operation of their centers, including its maintenance, personnel, and staff training.

Senator Go interacts with patients at the Compostela Valley Provincial Hospital  ARJOY M. CENIZA

The counterpart bill has been approved at the committee level in the House of Representatives.

In an interview, Go said there are currently 50 Malasakit Centers nationwide serving more than 160,000 patients.

He said patients who would be admitted to LGU and other public hospitals but are eligible for medical and financial assistance could also seek assistance from the Malasakit Centers.

Go said one of the functions of the Malasakit Centers would be to provide patient navigation and referral to the health care provider networks. He said the centers would also provide patients information regarding membership, coverage, and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program. 

The center will also document, process, and utilize data from patient experience through a standardized form in order to shape institutional changes in the hospital and provide capacity building and performance evaluation that may ensure good client interaction.

Senator Go talks to a patient at the Compostela Valley Provincial Hospital. ARJOY M. CENIZA

“With the Malasakit Center Act in place to complement the Universal Health Care Law, we are a step closer towards making quality health care more accessible and affordable for all Filipinos, especially the indigent and poor patients in need of medical assistance from the government,” Go said. 

“Pera niyo po ito. Ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos, at maaasahang serbisyong medikal para sa lahat ng Pilipino,” he added.

(This is your money. It is simply being returned to you in terms of fast, efficient, and reliable semedical services for all Filipinos.)
 

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