Press Release
May 29, 2023

Specialty centers in provinces soon to be established

A bill seeking to establish specialty centers in Department of Health (DOH) hospitals across the country has been approved in the Senate on third and final reading Monday, May 29, 2023.

Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri and Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, along with other senators, had pushed for the approval of Senate Bill No. 2212 otherwise known as the Regional Specialty Center Act, so that "specialized medical services would be made available to people in the provinces."

The senators lamented the fact that almost all of the specialty hospitals such as the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and the Philippine Children's Medical Center are located in Metro Manila.

They said patients needing special medical care have to spend extra to travel to Manila or remain in the provinces for treatment.

"While we do have specialty centers in some of our provinces, few are equipped to offer the same level of services that our national specialty hospitals do. If our people cannot travel to get the specialized care that they need, then we should bring these specialty centers straight to them," Zubiri, co-sponsor of the bill said.

One of his priority bills, Zubiri said SBN 2212 was the fulfillment of a pledge he made to the Filipino people to expand specialty hospitals nationwide during his 2022 election campaign.

"This bill closes the gap between the sick and hospitals, both in terms of distance and cost. Not only does it improve care delivery, it lessens the financial trauma of families," Zubiri said.

Zubiri said that under the bill, all regions would have established at least one specialty center within five years. This would make special health care affordable to the people.

Go, sponsor of SBN 2212, said the proposed measure mandates the DOH to establish at least one specialty center in every region with a particular focus on establishing heart, lung and kidney centers to replicate the specialty centers in Metro Manila.

He said the DOH, in coordination with the National Specialty Centers, shall ensure that the specialty centers in DOH hospitals across the nation would have expert personnel and medical specialists provided with necessary training and appropriate special equipment.

He said the DOH is also required to include capital outlay investments for designated specialty centers through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program and shall coordinate with the Department of Budget and Management in the development of the staffing pattern and standards for specialty centers.

"It is our hope that the establishment of specialty centers would strengthen our healthcare system and make specialized health services available and accessible to all Filipinos in line with our vision of universal healthcare," Go said.

All other members of the Senate were made co-authors of the bill.

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