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Solon encourages the Senate to approve the measure for specialty centers.

The proposed Department of Health (DOH) Specialty Centers Act’s counterpart measure needs to pass the Senate for President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to sign it and mention it in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, according to House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto on Friday.

He claimed that the measure aims to relieve the “financial pain” that comes with traveling to Manila and other large cities for treatment for the sick and their families.

“Let’s construct these specialized facilities. Therefore, not all avenues for individuals seeking therapy must go to Manila. And that the most effective routes should not necessarily go to private hospitals’ doors,” he added.

Recto stated that the bill also aims to alleviate the physician shortage by funding additional medical students and successfully regionalizing 13 other specialty centers, including those for the heart, lung, and kidney.

In addition to the “Doctor Para Sa Bayan” program, which will pay 3,600 students at 32 schools in 15 regions this year, the proposed bill, if passed, would include more “treat-train-teach” hospitals.

The measure mandates that the DOH build National Specialty Centers, Advanced Comprehensive Specialty Centers, and Basic Comprehensive Specialty Centers, specifically, DOH institutions throughout various geographic areas.

The designated hospitals will concentrate on 17 specialties, including dermatology, ophthalmology, geriatrics, ear, nose, and throat, renal and kidney transplant, brain and spine, cancer, cardiovascular, lung, renal and kidney transplant, trauma, burn, orthopedic and physical rehabilitation, infectious disease and tropical medicine, toxicology, mental health, and geriatrics.

The Heart, Lung, and Kidney Centers in Quezon City, already recognized as National Speciality Centers, will offer the guidelines, technical support, and training for creating specialty centers in the regions.

According to Recto, making specialty units a part of already-established hospitals is a “better, faster, and cheaper” strategy than regionalizing the Heart, Lung, and Kidney Centers into independent facilities.

Recto stated that the measure “is one of the Rx to resource anemia in the health system.”

This deficiency is never more apparent than in the DOH-managed hospitals in major cities. Because of the influx of medical refugees from institutions that are unable to treat them, their patient intake resembles a clogged artery, he continued.

He said opening specialty clinics will ease congestion in “catchment medical centers” and relieve patients of the additional financial load.

“For individuals who live in the provinces, the expense of receiving treatment at the Heart or Lung Center in Manila dramatically increases – the equivalent of having a high blood pressure level. He claimed that the cost of caregivers’ travel, food, and lodging consumes funds that could have been used exclusively for the patient’s care.

Recto added that because they are separated from their family, “medical evacuees are denied the constant care of a revolving set of caregivers, whose presence aids in healing.”

According to Recto, the creation of extra “teach and train” facilities for medical students registered under the Doktor Para Sa Bayan Act is another “good side benefit” of a network of specialty centers.

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