With all affirmative votes, the Senate approved on Monday, November 11, Senate Bill No. 1076, otherwise known as the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, which seeks to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all 73 hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH).
The bill, authored and sponsored by Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, aims to consolidate the financial assistance provided by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in one office so that patients or their representatives will save time and resources in availing such assistance from the government.
“The Malasakit Center is one of the solutions the Duterte government has developed to provide quick and quality access to healthcare to all Filipinos, regardless of their age, sex, ethnic background, religion and political affiliation,” Go said in his speech.
“We laud this august chamber for making this a priority and one of the first legislations to be approved on 3rd reading in the 18th Congress,” he added as the thanked his colleagues in the Senate for the support they gave in passing the measure.
He also thanked the DOH, DSWD, PCSO, PhilHealth, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and other government agencies for “their cooperation and commitment to ensure the successful implementation” of Malasakit Centers.
In an interview, Go said there are currently 50 Malasakit Centers nationwide serving more than 160,000 patients.
Under Senate Bill No. 1076, hospitals run by local government units (LGUs) and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided that they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the availability of funds for the operation of their centers, including its maintenance, personnel and staff training, among others.
Go said patients who would be admitted to LGU and other public hospitals but are eligible for medical and financial assistance could also seek assistance from the Malasakit Centers.
Go said one of the functions of the Malasakit Centers would be to provide patient navigation and referral to the health care provider networks. He said the centers would also provide patients information with regards to membership, coverage and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program.
The center will also document, process and utilize data from patient experience through a standardized form in order to shape institutional changes in the hospital and provide capacity building and performance evaluation that may ensure good client interaction.
“With the Malasakit Center Act in place to complement the Universal Health Care Law, we are a step closer towards making quality health care more accessible and affordable for all Filipinos, especially the indigent and poor patients in need of medical assistance from the government,” Go said.
“Pera niyo po ito. Ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyong medikal para sa lahat ng Pilipino,” he added.