MANILA, PHILIPPINES – All politics may be local, but not services that to the public are deemed vital. A critical public need like health services always benefit from economies of scale.
And a national government simply has a larger monetary, manpower, and material resources than local governments; therefore, it is in a better position to administer critical health facilities providing frontline services to the people.
And so 20 years after devolution of health care system to local government units, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has filed a bill putting back to the Department of Health the operation and management of all public hospitals from the local government units.[pq]Trillanes filed Senate Bill 2577 after learning that the quality of health services has slowly depreciated despite the devolution of the healthcare system to the LGUs.[/pq]
“The devolution was based on the assumption that local government executives would know where the need for such services is necessary and would be able to prioritize such needs but after several years of implementation, it was found out, however, that the quality of health services has slowly decayed in most areas of the country,” he said.
The lawmaker noted the low priority given by the LGUs to healthcare, corruption in the procurement of medicines, and denial of benefits of health workers.
He said the LGUs has not enough funds to bear the financial costs of maintaining and operating hospitals and providing salaries and benefits.
Under SBN 2577, health services and facilities devolved to the LGUs would be re-nationalized or returned to the operation and management of the national government.
Upon implementation of this proposal, re-nationalized hospitals and Rural Health Units/Centers would be authorized to use the income they derived from their operation to improve and upgrade the services they provide, as long as the supporting financial and work plans are first approved by the Department of Health.
“Through this measure, we hope that LGUs would be freed from financial burden, while we upgrade and standardize healthcare throughout the country,” Trillanes explained.
– DFF, Medical Observer