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Lawmakers want five specialty hospitals established outside NCR

The establishment of five specialty hospitals outside the National Capital Region (NCR) has been proposed in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 6857, filed by Representatives Paolo Duterte of Davao City, Eric Yap of Benguet, and Jeffrey Soriano and Edvic Yap of ACT-CIS party-list, seeks to establish one specialty hospital each in northern Luzon, southern Luzon, Visayas, northern Mindanao, and southern Mindanao.

The bill provides that the type of specialty hospital will be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) based on its assessment of the prevailing illnesses in the area.

The authors said these additional specialty hospitals in the country should include branches of the Philippine Heart Center, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Lung Center of the Philippines, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and the soon-to-be established Philippine Cancer Center.

“Many Filipinos flock to the specialty hospitals located in Metro Manila because they offer quality medical care and treatment that are more affordable than those available in private hospitals. Establishing branches of the Heart Center, the Kidney Institute and other government-run specialty hospitals in strategic areas in the country will help address the widening inequity in healthcare,” Duterte said in a statement.

HB 6857 states that these regional branches should be built three years after the measure is signed into law.

The bill also tasks the regional branches to promote, encourage and engage in scientific research on the prevention of heart diseases, kidney diseases, liver diseases, cancer, and pulmonary diseases.

Likewise, the bill states that the regional branches should also aim to assist universities, hospitals and research institutions in the studies of these diseases; and encourage or undertake the training of physicians, other medical personnel, and social workers on the practical and scientific conduct and implementation of services related to these diseases.

Under the bill, all tax exemptions and privileges enjoyed by the existing Metro Manila-based specialty hospitals will also be applicable to their regional branches.

The authors identified a P5-billion initial funding from the national government for the implementation of the measure, with the succeeding appropriations to be sourced under the Department of Health’s budget as provided by the National Budget law. — BM, GMA Integrated News