A SENATOR has refiled a bill that will establish tertiary level hospitals in the 17 regions within five years to improve the Philippine’s health care service.
“The pandemic we are facing today is a big blow to our government and our people, but it is also an opportunity for us to see the huge shortcomings in our medical facilities,” Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid said in Filipino in a statement on Monday.
A tertiary care hospital, as defined by the Department of Health (DoH), is equipped with facilities and manpower to support medical specialists.
“My bill aims to build quality tertiary hospitals in all regions of our country to help ensure that our countrymen have hospitals to run to when they get sick not only with COVID-19 (coronavirus 2019), but also other illnesses,” Mr. Lapid said.
Under the bill, regions that do not have any regional hospital of whatever classification lower than tertiary care will be prioritized. Provinces that are geographically isolated from the region’s tertiary care hospital will also get priority.
Areas that already have existing regional hospitals will be expanded and upgraded to tertiary level.
As of 2019, there were 66 DoH-run hospitals across the country, with at least one in every region. This total does not include medical facilities managed by local governments and four specialty hospitals in Metro Manila that operate as government-owned and controlled corporations.
Of the 66 DoH hospitals, the National Capital Region had the most number of tertiary care facilities with 16, while other regions had at most three.
Areas with no level 3 hospitals include the island provinces of Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan as well as the Eastern Visayas region, based on the 2019 DoH Hospitals Profile report.
“Through this bill, I also aim to help our sick compatriots so that they do not have to go to Metro Manila or distant places just to receive the services of a tertiary hospital. In this way, the expenses of Filipinos, especially those with chronic diseases, will be greatly reduced,” the senator said.
The previously filed bill was left pending at the committee level in the 18th Congress. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan