Two ranking members of the House of Representatives have proposed solutions to the impasse on proposed legislation to replace the Medical Act of 1959.
Bohol Rep. Alexie Tutor, the committee on civil service and professional regulation chairperson, is asking countryside doctors in the district and provincial hospitals, the so-called Doctors to the Barrios, and the Commission on Higher Education for help on a negotiated consensus solution to the impasse hindering the replacement of the old Medical Act of 1959.
Senior Citizen party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes, a member of the Tutor-led panel and special committee on senior citizens chairperson, said “on this matter of recognition of a national association of doctors, I am inclined to think that the model we should be looking at is the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), where a diverse range of different types of schools are under the COCOPEA.”
He is also a committee on higher and technical education and committee on health member.
“Right now, the Philippine Medical Association is not like the COCOPEA because not all physicians are covered by the PMA. The proposed Integrated National Organization of Physicians is, I believe, the COCOPEA-like umbrella organization that would indeed be inclusive.
Automatically making all PRC physician board passers members of the PMA is not the solution for inclusivity because that would be violative of the constitutional right of freedom of association,” he said.
“A real umbrella organization would include all the physicians who see patients, including those in remote areas and provinces with only a basic PRC physician license and who are not PMA members,” he added.
“The current impasse on the proposed new professional regulation law for doctors will be resolved in the coming weeks before Congress resumes session after the summer break,” Tutor cited.
“I am on the side of the Filipino people who deserve licensed doctors who are updated on the latest medical knowledge and practice and enabled to serve their patients, especially those in the rural areas who are the constituents of many Members of Congress,” she noted.
The old 1959 urgently needs replacement, she stressed.
“Many of the 20 percent who are not members of the Philippine Medical Association are PRC-licensed doctors who practice their profession in remote areas—a situation that hampers their ability to undergo further training in medical specialties because they are immersed in the isolated communities they serve,” she said.
She urged CHED to help the committee negotiate a consensus solution to the impasse because some of the schools they regulate have access to the remote areas where the countryside doctors are.