Senate OKs Malasakit bill | The Manila Times

Ismael, J. J. (2019, November 12). Senate OKs Malasakit bill. The Manila Times. Retrieved November 12, 2019 from

Senate OKs Malasakit bill
By Javier J. Ismael
November 12, 2019

THE Senate approved on Monday a bill that aims to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit Centers or one-stop centers for medical and financial assistance in 73 hospitals under the Department of Health (DoH).

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, author and sponsor of Senate Bill 1076, otherwise known as the “Malasakit Center Act of 2019,” said the measure aimed to consolidate the assistance provided by the DoH, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office under one roof.

“We are not providing additional funds for assistance, we are merely establishing a one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance,” Go explained.

He said concerned government agencies would still run their own medical assistance programs.

So far, 50 Malasakit Centers have been established nationwide.

Despite the signing of the Universal Health Care Law, Go said indigent patients had to shell out money for expenditures that are not covered by the benefit package under the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

He cited the 2017 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, which showed that out-of-pocket payment accounted for 55 percent of health expenditures despite the safety nets provided by PhilHealth.

“Data from Mercer Marsh Benefits 2019 Medical Trends Around the World showed that medical inflation rate will outpace the actual inflation in the country and is projected to rise to 13.7 percent. This makes our medical inflation rate the second highest in the Association of South East Asian Nations region, next to Vietnam’s 14.2 percent,” Go said.

Under the bill, hospitals run by local government units and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided that they guarantee the availability of funds for its maintenance, personnel and staff training, among others.

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

He added that the centers would provide patients information on the coverage and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program, process and utilize data from patient experience through a standardized form to shape institutional changes in the hospital and provide capacity building and performance evaluation that ensure good client interaction.

The bill adopted an amendment from Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros that would require Malasakit Centers to provide “critical information on healthy behaviors and conduct health promotion activities in the hospital.”

The bill also adopted Sen. Franklin Drilon’s amendment that the proposed legislation would not limit the “access to or availability of medical and financial assistance only to indigent and financially incapacitated patients referred through Malasakit Centers.”

Published on Home » News » Nation | The Manila Times

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