GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The provincial government of South Cotabato has started preparations for the full implementation later this year of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.
Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, assistant provincial health officer, said Thursday South Cotabato was among the 33 provinces in the country that were selected as pilot areas for the rollout of the UHC law.
Vingno said the Department of Health (DOH) has scheduled the launching of the UHC in the province in September.
“The initial step for us is to submit a draft resolution that signifies the commitment of the provincial government for the implementation of the program,” Vingno said in a media forum in Koronadal City.
The official said the DOH has chosen the province as “advance sites” to implement the UHC due to the “likelihood of success” and willingness of local government leaders to adopt and promote it.
She pointed out that an integral part of the law is the referral system and the province has already institutionalized it among local hospitals and rural health units.
Vingno said the province has also passed the criteria and was a pilot area of the health care service delivery network.
She explained that under the law, a special health fund will be established that will generate support from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., DOH, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and other concerned agencies.
The provincial governor, who sits as chair of the local health board, has the authority on the prioritization of the fund, she said.
She said UHC will be primarily helpful to residents who avail of the primary health packages, like doctor’s consultation for certain diseases, but noted that the law “is not exactly free hospitalization.”
“But we have the "No Balance Billing" system so our sponsored indigents and those availing basic hospital accommodation can benefit from it,” she added. (PNA)