Duque urged to activate special funds under Universal Health Care law
BATANGAS, Philippines – Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas urged Health Secretary Francisco Duque to fully implement the Universal Health Care (UHC) law and activate the Special Health Fund (SHF) to help local government units fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Please note that the SHF is the most essential part of the UHC to provide the necessary resources to integrate the health management in the LGUs," Mandanas said in a letter dated April 6.
The Universal Health Care Law states that income from Philhealth payments will go to the special health fund (SHF), which will be managed by provincial and city health boards. The Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the local government units were mandated by Congress to come up with guidelines for its use.
"DOH will be able to effectively delegate to the Local Health Board (LHB) the much needed resources which can now come from Republic Act No. 11469, the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” Mandanas said.
Mandanas said the provincial government has organized its Local Health Board. Activating the SHF will allow the province to start the construction of quarantine areas, he said.
The province seeks funding to prepare 1,000 beds for persons under investigation (PUIs) for the disease. He said they also aim to expand 12 district hospitals and convert evacuation centers into additional quarantine areas.
Mandanas said they also seek to recruit health frontliners and provide them with necessary protection and supplies.
Private hospitals in the province were already overflowing with PUIs, he said.
Statement of private hospitals
The Private Hospitals Association of Batangas (PHAB) earlier this week issued a statement appealing to the governor to establish a centralized COVID-19 network of referral hospitals in the province.
PHAB president Robert Magsino, representing 59 different private hospitals in the province, proposed that designation of government hospital Batangas Medical Center (BatMC) as the main facility while other government-owned district hospitals serve as referral facilities.
Magsino said this will enable most private hospitals to continue their medical services to non-COVID patients.
“We are not backing out and running away from our responsibilities. We are trying to find ways to work and fight this battle more efficiently," Magsino said.
“Given the present situation and with the expected exponential rate of increase of COVID-19 PUIs and PUMs in the province, most private hospitals resources will soon be exhausted in dealing with both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. When this happens, the healthcare delivery system of the province will most likely be overwhelmed and may eventually fail,” the statement said. – Rappler.com