FORMER president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has pushed for the rationalization and modernization of the health delivery system to address the deterioration of government hospitals despite the devolution of health services to the local governments.
In filing House Bill 4143, Arroyo, a House deputy speaker, stressed the need for the state to rationalize and modernize the health care delivery system for the government to fully and effectively perform its constitutional mandate to protect and promote the people’s right to health and instill health consciousness among them.
Arroyo said with the devolution of health services transferred to the LGUs, many government hospitals and health centers failed to cope with the health needs because of lack of funding support from the LGUs.
“The problems brought about by devolution led to the deterioration of health services particularly in far-flung areas where services are needed most,” Arroyo said.
“Only one-third of the total number of hospitals and about half of hospital beds are public. Out of the country’s 41,000 barangays, only one fourth have a barangay health station. These government health facilities have been notoriously described as ‘death stations’ for their lack of equipment, medicines and able staff,” Arroyo said.
To address the situation, Arroyo said there should be a program of extending technological, financial and administrative assistance to LGUs to support and improve the provision, operation and maintenance of their health facilities and equipment through inter-agency and multi-sectoral cooperation.
She said the Department of Health should provide each LGU competent physicians to assist the local chief executive as might be appropriate in monitoring health care delivery functions and enhance the capability of hospitals.
Not only should more doctors to the barrio be deployed, Arroyo said a residency training and accreditation of private specialist practitioners should be implemented in provincial hospitals and medical centers.
“To attract more doctors in remote areas, Mrs. Arroyo said they should be given more incentives and benefits in the form of hazard allowance, subsistence pay, automatic promotion, scholarships to their legitimate children in state colleges and universities as well as free legal representation and consultation in cases of coercion, interference and other cases filed by or against such doctors in the performance of their duties,” Arroyo said.
She said a stronger partnership should likewise be created between the DOH and LGUs to establish health care delivery facilities as well as a dependable two-way referral system in higher level health care stations reaching up to the specialty hospitals and vice versa.
Arroyo’s HB 4143 also pushes for the establishment of diagnostic centers with modern and quality equipment in all provincial hospitals.
“To realize genuine local autonomy and transparency, each district hospital, medical center including those in Metro Manila and specialty health hospital should have a health board which shall be headed, for the district hospital (by) the Sangguniang Panlalawigan member representing the district where the district hospital is located,” Arroyo said.
For the medical center, the bill provides the Chairman of the board will be the Regional Development Council while in Metro Manila, the Chairman will be the Mayor where the medical center is located. For specialty hospital, the head shall be the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
The bill also provides the Vice Chairman of the health board will be the Chief of the District Hospitals, Medical Centers and Specialty Hospitals.
The members will be composed of the Representative of the Congressional District for hospitals in his political district; Senator of the Republic for all medical centers and specialty hospitals; a mayor of the catchments area of the district; and representatives of the Philippine Hospital Association, Philippine Medical Association; non-government organizations involved in health services; religious sector, and the private secto4.
Arroyo said a P1 billion annual funding support would be needed to implement the provisions in her bill.