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House passes legislation to establish DOH specialist centers in the provinces.

On final reading, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a bill creating specialist centers in hospitals under the direct supervision and direction of the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday.

The chamber approved the Department of Health Specialty Centers Act on third reading with 256 votes in favor, 0 against, and 0 abstentions.

The development of these clinics, according to the measure’s author and Speaker Martin Romualdez, “would make specialized health care accessible to our people in the provinces, especially the poor.”

The father of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., built several specialized hospitals, but they are all located in Quezon City. Therefore, those of our citizens in the outlying areas, as well as in the Visayas and Mindanao, who require the services of these health facilities, will have to go all the way to Quezon City to do so, according to Romualdez.

These specialist hospitals include the Philippine Orthopedic Hospital in Banawe, Quezon City, the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center, all of which are situated on East Avenue and Quezon Avenue.

According to Romualdez, the measure’s purpose is to give specialist health services to the general population, particularly in light of the prevalence and burden of diseases like heart, kidney, and lung conditions, which rank among the nation’s top health issues.

Therefore, he stated, “We need more specialty centers, not necessarily on par with hospitals like those in Quezon City, to treat and care for our people in the provinces who need specialized health care.”

He cited Marcos’ recent request for the Philippine Heart Center to expand to the Angeles City Clark Freeport.

Romualdez stated that a secondary goal of the proposal is to accelerate the application of the Universal Health Care Law.

The bill will require the DOH to establish specialized centers in a few hospitals under its supervision and management.

Within five years of the bill’s becoming law, each region must have at least one center operational.

Facilities for 17 specialties, including cancer treatment, cardiovascular care, lung care, renal care and kidney transplant, brain and spine treatment, burn treatment, orthopedic care, physical rehabilitation medicine, infectious disease and tropical medicine, toxicology, mental health, geriatric care, neonatal care, dermatology treatment, ear, nose and throat treatment, and eye treatment, shall receive priority from the DOH.

The measure establishes requirements for these facilities, including the availability of qualified specialized medical staff, location and performance of the hospitals where the centers would be located, and accreditation with Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for patients to access the appropriate health care packages.

Initial building costs for the facilities must be deducted from the DOH budget.

The yearly national expenditures shall include successful financial needs.

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