“Pay-what-you-can policy” for poor patients in gov’t

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INDIGENT patients do not have to worry about their hospitalization expenses once a bill proposing the “pay-what-you-can policy” is enacted into law.

Under House Bill 6726, authored by Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), poor patients seeking diagnosis, treatment and cure from disease or illness shall be entitled to the “pay-what-you-can” policy in all government special hospital, medical center, institute or sanitarium.

Castelo said the bill, also known as the Pay-What-You-Can Hospital Entitlement Policy Act of 2012, will require public hospitals, medical centers and sanitaria to perform to the optimum on its mandate of health care delivery.

“This bill envisions that special hospitals, regional hospitals, medical centers and sanitaria should implement this ‘pay-what-you-can policy’ so that poor patients do not have to worry about their treatment, confinement or hospitalization, and healing from their illnesses,” Castelo said.

“The whole rationale of this measure is anchored on the view that the proposal while it sounds novel or bold is actually just a simple mechanism of check and balance,” Castelo said.

“Another part of this check-and-balance mechanism is to check and count how much in guaranty letters from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) go into the budgetary, fiscal and management affairs of each of hospitals, medical centers, institutes or sanitaria such that their appropriated budgetary shares could have translated into savings,” Castelo said.

The bill mandates the Department of Health shall issue appropriate rules, regulations and guidelines to fully implement the proposed act.

Covered by the “pay-what-you-can” policy are the Amang Rodriguez Medical Center, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, National Center for Mental Health, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Rizal Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital and Tondo Medical Center.

Also included in the coverage are the Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, and Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care.

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