March 24, 2023

The Department of Health will license more rural health units (RHU) as primary health care facilities in the Cordillera in an effort to bring health services more accessible by the public.
In accordance with the Universal Health Care Act (UHC), DOH Licensing Officer Dr. Virginia Narciso said the DOH’s thrust this year is to license more RHUs and even community-based clinics that are able to render primary care services, such as prevention and treatment of common diseases and injuries, basic emergency services, and are able to refer patients to hospitals or specialty centers.
Ancillary services in primary health care service facilities are clinical laboratory, diagnostic radiologic services, pharmacy, birthing services, dental services, and ambulance service.
In 2022, the DOH licensed 91 health facilities and this year is targeting to license nine – four in Abra; two in Mountain Province; and three in Baguio City.
As a licensed primary healthcare facility, patients who seek consult will be able to avail of benefits under the PhilHealth.
In addition, Narciso said DOH issues emblems to model primary health care facilities. RHUs that have recently been issued emblems are Pinsao Pilot Health Center in Baguio City, Tineg RHU in Abra; Kabugao and Calanasan RHUs in Apayao; and Aguinaldo RHU in Ifugao.
The UHC mandates the DOH to institute a licensing and regulatory system for standalone health services such as those providing ambulatory services such as birthing homes, infirmaries, medical facilities for overseas workers and seafarers, ambulatory surgical clinics, and hemodialysis clinics.
In the 2020 National Health Facility Registry, there are 2,592 RHUs classified as primary care facilities but are not regulated by the DOH.
But in accordance with the UHC, then DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III issued an administrative order containing the guidelines in the licensing and regulation of primary care facilities.
He said the licensing is meant to ensure that only safe and quality primary care are delivered to be every Filipino. – Rimaliza A. Opiña