June 23, 2024

The proposed ordinance institutionalizing Universal Health Care (UHC) in Baguio will undergo refinement after representatives of the Department of Health gave their inputs on the proposal, which is presently pending before the committee on health.

The DOH chose Baguio as site for the advance implementation of the Universal Health Care Act or Republic Act 1123 in 2019.

Institutionalization and localization of the UHC through local legislation will strengthen implementation of the Universal Health Care Act as this will be tailored to the specific needs of a local government, said DOH-UHC Development Management Officer IV Michael Capuyan.

He said a local UHC will integrate all health systems in the city with the end goal of ensuring effective, efficient, and affordable health services adhering to a framework that fosters a whole-of-system, whole-of-government, whole-of-society, and people-oriented approaches.

One complication that the UHC seeks to address is the fragmented health system, particularly the financing mechanism.

In Section 20 of the implementing rules and regulations of the UHC Act (UHCA), a special health fund (SHF) will be established where all resources, including financial grants and subsidies from national government agencies, income from PhilHealth, and other sources such as donations from non-government organizations, faith-based organizations, and official development assistance will be pooled.

The SHF will be used in financing population-based and individual-based health services. It will also be used to cover operating costs, capital investments, and remuneration and incentives for all health workers.

Capuyan said a health board will manage the SHF.

The health board will be headed by the mayor and the City Health Services Officer as vice chair.

Other components that will be enhanced through the UHC aside from the procurement process are the supply chain and management system, health facility development plan, and clinical practice guidelines.

The UHC also aims to streamline the management, integration, and linkages of health facilities in the localities, said DOH Office Development Management Officer IV Jennifer Valenzuela.

She said primary care facilities or the district health centers will be linked to higher facilities like levels 1 and 2 hospitals to a level 3 or apex hospital.

“Through the integration of the local health system, there is continuity in providing health care to the community as it enhances the referral mechanism for individuals in need of medical attention,” she added.

Once implemented, the City Health Services Office will be restructured where two divisions will be created – the Health Service Delivery Division headed by the assistant city health services officer and the Health Systems Support Division to be headed by another assistant city health services officer. – Jordan G. Habbiling