Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (left) and Secretary Michael Dino (Presidential Adviser for Visayas) hand over the P5 million check to BGHMC Center Director Dr. Ricardo Ruñez (3rd from left) during the launching of the Malasakit Center. Others in photo are Baguio Congressman Mark Go (4th from left), Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Vice Mayor Faustino Olowa and Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas (right). (CCD/PIA CAR)
The first in Cordillera and 22nd in Luzon, the Malasakit Center aims to serve as one-stop shop for all medical and financial assistance to indigent and poor patients, putting in one center all government agencies presently involved in giving medical assistances.
Malasakit Centers also serves as health care processing centers for patient assistance and referral to provide much needed system support for patient navigation under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Presidential Adviser for Visayas, Secretary Michael Dino represented the Office of the President during the Malasakit Center’s launching. They were welcomed by BGHMC Director Ricardo Ruñez, Baguio City officials headed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Congressman Mark Go, and Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas.
Go, in the simple launching ceremony, explained that the Malasakit Center will speed up and simplify the process for indigent patients seeking financial assistance as it will offer the medical assistance programs of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Patients or their representatives will only need to go to the Malasakit Center inside the hospital and fill out one unified form. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities will be entertained in a priority lane, Go added.
“Zero balance po ang target natin dito. Para po ito sa indigent patients. Huwag po natin silang pahirapan. Gusto natin mabilis na serbisyo,” Go stressed.
For the center’s initial operation, Go and Dino also turned over to Ruñez a P5 million check for the Malasakit Center that is replenishable upon liquidation. They also pledged an additional P5 million for emergency medical assistance program.
For continuing operation of the established Malasakit Centers even beyond the term of Pres. Duterte, Go said he is pushing a legislation for such purpose.
“Sa ngayon, initiative ito ng Office of the President. At para ma-institutionalize at tuloy-tuloy ito kahit tapos na ang termino ni Pangulong Duterte, I filed the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 which already passed the second reading in the Senate,” Go said.
SB 1076 also seeks to establish Malasakit Centers in all DOH-run hospitals throughout the country to reduce the out-of-pocket expenditures of indigent and poor patients including non-medical expenses like transportation costs, he added. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)
By Carlito C. Dar