Streamlined Malasakit Centers highlighted
The senator said these struggles prompted him to initiate the said program and later principally authored and sponsored Republic Act 11463, which institutionalized Malasakit Centers through a law signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go recently highlighted the streamlined medical assistance offered in the Malasakit Centers scattered throughout the country as he urged Filipinos to take advantage of the centers so they can prioritize their health and well-being without being burdened by the costs.
In an interview on Monday Go described the laborious process that Filipinos had to go through just to request medical assistance from the government before Malasakit Centers were established.
The senator said the struggles of the poor to get medical help prompted him to initiate the said program and later principally authored and sponsored Republic Act 11463, which institutionalized Malasakit Centers through a law signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019.
Under RA 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, all hospitals run by the Department of Health nationwide and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are mandated to establish their own Malasakit Center.
Hospitals run by local government units and other public hospitals may also establish their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria to guarantee the sustainability of the center’s operations.
There are currently 154 Malasakit Centers across the country, the most recent of which was launched on 18 January at the Camiguin General Hospital in Mambajao.
In addition, Go also mentioned that the Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital and Diagnostic Center in San Fernando City, Pampanga launched a Malasakit Center on 24 November of last year, with the senator in attendance.
According to the DoH, the Malasakit Centers program has assisted over seven million patients and provided a total of P50.8 billion in assistance since its inception in 2018. This specific assistance cited by DoH was provided through its Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients program, which can be accessed in these centers.
The DoH also said that efforts are being made to broaden the scope of assistance to include, among other things, outpatient drug benefits. It also stated that the PhilHealth, the country’s state-run health insurer, is strengthening its financing strategies to prevent patients from having to pay out-of-pocket costs.
Meanwhile, Girlie Veloso, Director IV of DoH handling the Malasakit Center Program, stressed that all Filipinos may seek assistance from Malasakit Centers.
Meanwhile, Go also backed the establishment of specialty medical centers across the country and funding medical assistance for indigent patients needing specialized medical services, stressing that many patients cannot afford these expensive medical treatments and operations.
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