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Concern for poor patients

Malasakit Center

WITH well-meaning public servants, the country’s “indigent patients” can sleep at night certain that they are assured of convenient and safe access to various medical assistance programs of the government.

An “indigent patient” refers to a person who has no visible means of income or whose income is insufficient for the subsistence of his/her family as assessed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

With the establishment of “Malasakit Centers” in various parts of the Philippines, poor patients or their relatives no longer go from one office to another to seek financial assistance from various government agencies.

Sen. Christopher “Bong” T. Go, the former Special Assistant to the President (SAP), said this is now possible because “nasa loob na ng ospital ang apat na ahensya ng gobyerno (na makakatulong sa mga pasyente).”

These are the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11463, all hospitals run by the DOH across the country and in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila are mandated to establish their own “Malasakit Centers.”

Hospitals owned by local government units may also set up their own “Malasakit Centers” as long as they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the availability of funds for the operation of said centers.

In these one-stop shops, patients or their relatives will only need to fill up a unified form to request assistance, instead of going to concerned government offices scattered in various locations.

As the chief architect of these centers, now numbering 94, Senator Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health, knows the importance of meeting the medical needs of the poorest of the poor.

The neophyte but hard-working senator from Mindanao urged the people to utilize the services of the “Malasakit Centers,” especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Thus, for the sake of the poorest of the poor, let’s support the chain of “Malasakit Centers.”