2022 GAA covers spending for public healthcare system — senator

January 19, 2022 Marlon Purification 652 views

SENATOR Sonny Angara said the 2022 General Appropriations Act contains much needed support for the state-run hospitals, as the country continues to deal with the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

As the chairman of the Committee on Finance, Angara said the strengthening of the country’s health system was among the top priorities during the deliberations on the 2022 national budget.

“Based on what we are seeing today with the renewed rise in COVID-19 cases, the support for our health system, particularly our government hospitals remains essential. While we had to work with limited resources, we made sure that the health sector would get as much funding as possible,” Angara said.

Among the government hospitals that received significant funding under the 2022 GAA is the UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH), which received close to P510 million in additional funds for infrastructure and various equipment.

For the Central Intensive Care Unit of the PGH, Angara said P169.7 million was provided for the purchase of equipment for the improvement of the facility.

Another P130 million was allocated for the Dual Plane Angiogram Suite for the hospital’s patients requiring cardiac and vascular procedures.

To complete the renovation and restoration of the historical Nurse’s Home Building that is now called “Bahay Silungan,” Angara noted that P120 million was provided to the PGH.

“We commend the efforts of PGH director Dr. Gap Legaspi in pursuing the restoration of this historical building. Apart from contributing to the preservation of our heritage icons, the revival of the structure will also serve as a home for the PGH’s hardworking health workers and even the transient patients,” Angara said.

A total of P90 million was also allocated to the PGH for the design, installation, testing and commissioning of a fire protection system for its Central Block Building.

“The fire that broke out at the PGH in May of last year was heartbreaking and also brought to our attention the need for interventions that would prevent something similar from happening again in the future,” Angara said.

For the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), a total of P656.8 million was provided to finance the requirements of the DOH-run hospital to upgrade its facilities and services.

This includes P127.6 million for the construction of a Multispecialty Catheterization Laboratory, P60 million for a CT Scan machine, P58 million for the purchase of neurosurgical equipment, and the renovation and upgrading of various facilities of the hospital.

Under the leadership of Dr. Alfonso Nuñez, the 600-bed EAMC continues to deliver quality health care to patients while also serving as a training and teaching center for medical and non-medical personnel.

The Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), a specialty hospital run by the DOH, received P75 million in additional funding to further improve the services it provides to patients suffering from lung cancer and other respiratory ailments.

For the early detection of lung cancer, an initial funding of P25 million was provided to support the annual screening of up to 400 patients with risk factors for the deadly disease.

Another P20 million was provided for the lung transplant program for patients with advanced lung disease.

This is to help patients in managing their condition while waiting for suitable donors under the national organ donor program.

Funding in the amount of P30 million was also provided for the procurement of a new Hospital Information System.

LCP executive director Dr. Vincent Balanag explained that the current IT system of the Lung Center is already 10 years old and its maintenance is no longer supported by its vendor thus the need to upgrade the system.

Upon the request of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), P8.5 million was allocated for medical assistance to children with congenital heart disease that require surgery.

The program was provided with the same amount in 2021 and according to PCMC director Dr. Sonia Gonzalez, 24 children benefitted from the program while another 20 to 30 more are currently undergoing evaluation.

“Our government hospitals are the lifeline of poor Filipinos who require medical attention. Many of them also provide specialized care that is considered among the best in the country. We will continue to work for the improvement of these facilities so that more Filipinos can avail of the health services that they need regardless of their financial circumstances,” Angara said.