JULY 18, 2013

NR # 3168

Pay-what-you-can policy for poor patients pushed
Indigent patients can now heave a sigh of relief about their hospitalization expenses once a bill proposing the “pay-what-you-can policy” is enacted into law. Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) filed House Bill 423 seeking to institutionalize the new policy of government to assess more objectively how well any public hospital; medical center or sanitarium has performed on its mandate of health care delivery. “The bill envisions that special hospitals, regional hospitals, medical centers and sanitaria should implement this ‘pay-what-you-can policy’ so that poor patients do not have to worry about their treatment, confinement or hospitalization, and healing from their illnesses,” Castelo said. Castelo said the whole rationale of the measure is anchored on the view that while the proposal sounds novel or bold, it is actually just a simple mechanism of check and balance. “Another part of this check-and-balance mechanism is to check and count how much in guaranty letters from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) go into the budgetary, fiscal and management affairs of each of the hospitals, medical centers, institutes or sanitaria such that their appropriated budgetary shares could have translated into savings,” Castelo said. Covered by the “Pay-What-You-Can Hospital Entitlement Policy Act of 2013” are the Amang Rodriguez Medical Center, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, National Center for Mental Health, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Rizal Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital and Tondo Medical Center. Also included in the coverage are the Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Children's Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, and Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care. The bill directs the Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with the concerned hospital, medical center, institute or sanitarium and the PCSO, to issue appropriate rules, regulations and guidelines to fully implement the proposed act. (30) lvc

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