Free hospital services for indigents pushed at PB
CEBU, Philippines — A proposed provincial ordinance which aims to provide free hospital services for all poor and indigent patients has passed the committee level and is recommended to be calendared in the next Provincial Board session.
The matter was first brought up in the PB last November 14 and was forwarded to the Committee of Ways and Means. It is set for second reading today.
The authors seek to amend the existing provincial revenue code to realize the program. The two board members who are currently working on the measure are Horacio Franco of the 5th district and Jose Mari Salvador of the 2nd district.
The proposal recommends ensuring that the indigent patient is still covered even if he/she transfers to a private institution upon the recommendation of a doctor.
“The Committee recommends to provide emphasis that in case the poor and indigent patient availed of the hospital services but later on shall transfer to a private accommodation not on his/her own volition but upon the recommendation of the medical doctor due to the medical condition of the patient or any other pertinent medical grounds, the hospital services shall remain to be free and no regular hospital fees and charges shall be imposed or charged to the patient,” part of the committee report read.
According to the authors, giving the hospital services and charges for free to the poor and indigent patients “shall not cripple and jeopardize” the necessary maintenance and operation of the hospital because the provincial and district hospitals income does not depend more on the charges and fees it collects directly from the patients. Rather, bulk of the income comes from the collection of PhilHealth.
Moreover, the proposed ordinance was found to be in line with the Universal Health Care Program of the present administration. It was also deemed in consonance with the general welfare clause under Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
“Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare,” the LGC states.
It is also legally supported by the provisions under Section 468 of the same Code which states that the PB, also known as Sanggunian Panlalawigan, shall ensure that efficient and effective delivery of the basic service that may clearly include health services to pauper and underprivileged through ordinances.
Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution states that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness. — JMD (FREEMAN)