IN a move to align the Philippines’ medical technology sector with global standards, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go filed on Tuesday, December 5, a bill aimed at enhancing the existing framework governing the practice of medical technology in the country.
Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2503, also known as the “Philippine Medical Technology Act of 2023,” seeks to update several decades-old laws, specifically Republic Act Nos. 5527 and 6138, as well as Presidential Decree Nos. 498 and 1534.
Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said that the current laws, dating back over half a century, may need to be updated to reflect the advancements and requirements of modern medical technology.
“The landscape in medical technology education and profession has significantly evolved,” said Go, emphasizing the need for a legal framework that keeps pace with these changes.
Go, together with fellow Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, recently attended the 59th Annual Convention of the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists Inc. (PAMET) at Manila Hotel in Manila City on Tuesday, December 5.
The senator emphasized the importance of recognizing the vital role played by medical technologists in the healthcare system. He also shared that his daughter is an aspiring MedTech currently taking up the course in college.
“Magkokonsulta po kami during the hearing, tatanungin po namin kung ano po ang version na inyong gusto at makatutulong po na maisulong po ‘yung naaayon po sa panahon ngayon. Kasi 2023 na tayo, napakatagal na po ng inyong MedTech law at dapat po ay i-amend na po ito,” Go cited.
“As we continue our journey towards a healthier Philippines, let us stand united in our commitment to providing accessible and quality healthcare for all. Thank you for your dedication, and I look forward to working hand in hand with PAMET and other stakeholders to realize our shared vision of a healthier and more prosperous nation,” he added, as his team also gave tokens to 800 medical technologists in attendance during the convention.
In his speech, he shared that his proposed legislation outlines several key areas of reform, including the establishment of a more comprehensive scope of practice for medical technologists. This encompasses a wide range of laboratory procedures and techniques, along with the teaching and supervision of students in educational institutions offering Medical Technology courses.
A notable feature of the bill is the proposed improvement of compensation and benefits for medical technologists. It proposes a minimum base pay equivalent to Salary Grade 15 for medical technologists in both the public and private sectors.
Additionally, it calls for hazard pay amounting to 25% of the minimum basic pay, as well as compliance with occupational safety and health standards, including the provision of personal protective equipment.
“The welfare and professional development of our medical technologists are crucial,” Go stated. He emphasized that the bill aims to provide medical technologists with a supportive working environment and opportunities for professional growth, such as Continuing Professional Development and Career Progression and Specialization programs.
“Our medical technologists are essential in the healthcare system, and they deserve fair compensation and a safe working environment. This bill is about setting standards as well as valuing their contributions and ensuring they have a conducive environment for professional growth,” he said.
Furthermore, the bill introduces the establishment of a Professional Regulatory Board of Medical Technology, under the administrative supervision and control of the Professional Regulation Commission. This board will be responsible for overseeing the profession, ensuring ethical standards, and administering licensure examinations.
Go’s proposal also stresses the importance of reciprocal agreements for foreign medical technologists, ensuring that they are allowed to practice in the Philippines only if Filipino medical technologists are afforded similar privileges in their respective countries.
“In an era of rapid medical advancements, it is imperative that our laws evolve to meet the current and future needs of our healthcare sector,” said Go.
“This measure is our response to modernizing our legal framework, ensuring our medical technologists are equipped and recognized in accordance to international standards,” he concluded.
Go has been instrumental in advancing the standards of medical practice in the Philippines. Earlier, he filed SBN 191, or the Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2022, which aims to bolster the educational opportunities available to nurses, ensuring they have the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the evolving demands of the healthcare sector.
Go maintained the importance of equipping nurses with the necessary interventions to meet the evolving healthcare challenges. SBN 191 seeks to protect and improve the nursing profession by instituting measures that will result in relevant nursing education for better career prospects and dignified work conditions for nurses.