SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go encouraged families and individuals who cannot afford but are in urgent need of medical care to apply for assistance from government through the Malasakit Centers found in various hospitals throughout the country.
“Ano ba ang kwalipikasyon ng Malasakit Center? Basta Pilipino ka, qualified ka, lalong-lalo na ‘yung mahihirap,” the senator said in a recent interview.
Through a unified form available at the Malasakit Center, patients or their representatives can conveniently avail medical assistance from the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office—all found under one roof.
“Hindi dapat pahirapan ang pagkuha ng serbisyo mula sa gobyerno. Pera niyo po iyan. Ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyong pangkalusugan,” Go reiterated.
“Dahil sa Malasakit Center, hindi niyo na po kailangan bumiyahe at pumila pa sa iba’t ibang mga opisina. Nasa iisang kwarto na po sa loob mismo ng ospital ang mga ahensyang tutulong sa inyong pampagamot,” he added.
There are currently 96 Malasakit Centers around the country. Based on the latest report as of December 2020, these Malasakit Centers have benefited more than one million Filipinos nationwide who have applied for medical assistance for their hospital bills and other health-related needs.
Go, as then Special Assistant to the President, pioneered the first Malasakit Center in 2018, at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, to help streamline the provision of medical assistance from government as part of his advocacy to improve the public health system and its services, and make it more convenient to access them, especially for the indigent patients.
“Pakiusap ko po sa mga ospital, huwag nating pabayaan ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap at walang pambayad. Unahin natin sila pagdating sa serbisyo publiko dahil sila ang umaasa talaga sa tulong mula sa gobyerno,” Go appealed.
Upon winning a seat in the Senate, he then principally authored and sponsored the passage of a measure that became Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019.
The primary aim of the Malasakit Centers program is to reduce the patients’ hospital bills to the lowest possible amount by covering various services and expenses.
“All hospital bills, including professional fees, are covered provided that the expense for the professional fee shall not exceed fifty percent of the approved assistance. So nandudoon po ‘yun, nakasaad po ‘yon [sa guidelines]….Kung ano po ang nasa billing statement na ibinibigay ng hospital, ‘yun ang magiging basehan ng assessment ng Malasakit Center personnel,” explained Go
“Ang professional fee ng mga doktor ay kasama sa kino-cover ng Malasakit Centers pero ito ay nakadepende sa magiging assessment ng ating mga social worker at sa consent na rin ng doctor na nag-render ng serbisyo sa inyo,” he added.
The 96th branch was launched at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on December 18. This particular initiative was part of the broader goal of the Duterte Administration to ensure the welfare of military veterans and their families.
“Iyung mga veterans, bigyan natin ng halaga. Malaki ang sakripisyo ng ating mga sundalo sa ating bansa,” continued the Senator.
“Isipin mo, nagtatrabaho ‘yan ng 35 years para magserbisyo sa bayan. So, ‘yung iba diyan 40 years including ‘yung [panahon] sa academy. So, pagkatapos ng serbisyo nila, bigyan natin sila ng hospital na maayos,” he added.