Batangas, Quezon Chosen As Universal Health Care Program Pilot Areas

The Department of Health (DOH) has chosen Batangas and Quezon among the pilot areas in the implementation of the government’s Universal Health Care (UHC) all-inclusive program for Filipinos.

“We are preparing the foundation for the implementation of the Universal Health Care at the local health system so we should be fully knowledgeable on how to implement it because this is our chance to fix our health care system wherein no patient should be left behind. Everybody should be afforded the right health care,” DOH 4-A (Calabarzon) Director, Dr. Eduardo Janairo, said Friday.

The DOH 4-A has convened provincial, city and municipal health workers of Batangas and Quezon for their respective scheduled orientations and the pilot sites are currently preparing for their application of the UHC health programs.

Janairo said the DOH-identified UHC-Advance Implementation Sites (AIS) programs in the two provinces will be supported and contracted by both DOH and PhilHealth to demonstrate various approaches and mechanisms to achieve technical, managerial, and financial integration, as mandated by the UHC law that guarantees equitable access to quality and affordable health care for all Filipinos.

Under these arrangements, both public and private sector could work together towards the achievement of a successful and efficient health care delivery network in the two provinces.

“At the same time, no patient should be worried or think about the huge expenses because the patient has to be aware of the expenses and know where to seek assistance if needed. These are the principles that we must include in the implementation of UHC so that all Filipinos could be well taken care of,” Janairo noted.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC law, or Republic Act 11223 last Feb. 20, paving the way for the automatic enrollment of all Filipinos covered under the National Health Insurance Program, which prescribes complementary reforms in the health system.

Janairo assured that the health department would address the inequities in health services, such as lack of manpower, health services, and medicines, which could be resolved under the UHC program through primary health care.

“We have to include these concerns in the entire health care system, on whatever is needed for medical services, so that patients could immediately have access to these. Whether they are from the highlands or on the streets, a concerned health office should be on hand to address these concerns in times of medical emergency. This is the accessibility provided for in the Universal Health Care,” he added.

Janairo further said that 33 areas, including Batangas and Quezon, were chosen because of the willingness and support of their local chief executives to participate in the program and also due to the high probability of success in these areas.

He said Batangas and Quezon health care workers could share lessons and experiences that serve as basis for the development of national policies on the integration, particularly of local health systems and for UHC in general.

Other UHC-AIS identified pilot sites are Valenzuela and Parañaque in the National Capital Region; Dagupan in the Ilocos region; Baguio and Benguet in the Cordillera region; Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino in the Cagayan Valley region; Bataan and Tarlac in Central Luzon; Oriental Mindoro in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan); Masbate and Sorsogon in the Bicol region; Aklan, Antique, Guimaras and Iloilo in Western Visayas; Cebu in Central Visayas; Biliran, Leyte and Samar in Eastern Visayas; Zamboanga del Norte in Zamboanga Peninsula; Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao; Compostella Valley and Davao del Norte in the Davao region; Sarangani and South Cotabato in Soccsksargen; Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte in Caraga; and Maguindanao in the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao). (PNA)

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