A HOUSE leader vowed to push for institutionalization of medical aid for indigent patients confined in private hospitals should her group Bagong Henerasyon (BH) win a fresh mandate in the May 9 elections.
House Deputy Speaker and BH Rep. Bernadette Herrera, who is seeking her third consecutive term as representative of the BH Partylist, said the idea is to ensure that medical assistance programs under the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and all other concerned government agencies are made accessible to more people.
“Ang concept ko kasi rito is we have a very efficient medical assistance program in place. The DOH and DSWD have that. Sa public hospitals diretso ‘yan, walang problema. Nakakalabas na ang mga pasyente na walang binabayaran,” Herrera explained during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum last Wednesday.
She added: “Sa private po, kailangan may MOA (memorandum of agreement) ang private hospitals with government. That would be a mechanism for government to put funds sa private hospital para in cases of emergency na wala nang public hospital na available, kaya pa ring bayaran ng gobyerno ‘yung bill ng ating mahihirap na kababayan through the Universal Health Care Law and the medical assistance program.”
Herrera said the COVID-19 experience has made it more imperative for the government to expand its medical assistance program to include indigent patients confined in private hospitals not by their own choosing.
“Nitong pandemic nakita natin na napupuno ang public hospitals, walang choice ‘yung ating mga constituents but to go to the private hospitals,” she pointed out.
The veteran partylist lawmaker recalled how she approached DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III regarding the matter.
“Kinulit ko po noon si Secretary Duque na we have to do something about it kasi hindi naman choice ng mamamayan na in cases of emergency mapunta sila sa private hospitals and at the same time, kawawa rin ‘yung mga private hospital kasi naiiwanan sila ng promissory note na hindi na nababayaran,” she narrated.
She continued: “Nakapagpalabas po ako ng admin memo dyan. Talagang kinulit ko si Secretary Duque. So, as long as merong MOA ang private hospital with DSWD or DOH, pwede na tayong mag-issue ng guarantee letter to help ‘yung in cases of emergency na walang mahanap na public hospital dahil puno, makalalabas sila sa hospital, at nang matulungan din ‘yung private hospitals.”
Herrera said an administrative order is not enough that’s why she would push for the passage of a law institutionalizing government medical assistance in private hospitals.
“Kaya excited po akong bumalik sa Kongreso para magkaroon talaga ng magandang partnership ang private hospitals at ang government to help private hospitals as well on the condition that government has to pay on time. Pay on time dahil kawawa rin ang mga pribadong ospital. So, it has to be legislated,” Herrera said.