Health NGO hit corporating public hospitals
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — A health non-government organization (NGO) in the Cordillera region supports the call of the national health workers’ alliance and Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño to block the move of Congress to institutionalize the corporating of public hospitals.
In a phone interview, Mia Liquigan-Rasalan of the Community Health Services and Trainings in the Cordillera Region (Chestcore) said that they fully support the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) and Casiño in opposing the recent attempts of the government to corporatize public hospitals as they brand the move as anti-people and anti-health worker.
“The move will thus worsen the dismal state of the people’s health,” Rasalan said.
The corporatization move is contained in House Bill 6069 and its counterpart Senate Bill 3130, Nordis learned from the above health groups. House Bill 6069 is authored by Bacolod City Rep. Anthony Golez while Senator Franklin Drilon penned Senate Bill 3130.
Last July 5, Casiño urged his colleagues in Congress to withdraw their support to the two bills that aim to corporatize the country’s public hospitals.
“That is a grand disguised privatization scheme to further let go of the government’s responsibility to provide health care for the people,” Casiño explained in his media statement.
In his appeal to the legislators, Casiño said that “House Bill 6069 or An Act Creating National Government Hospital Corporations, has dire, if not life-threatening implications for our poor constituents.”
“The hospital corporatization and the government’s Public-Private Partnership scheme will result to higher hospital fees. This bill, along with its counterpart Senate Bill 3130 or the National Government Hospital Corporate Restructuring Act, will make healthcare services inaccessible to poor families in the whole country,” Casiño said.
Jossel I. Ebesate, national president of AHW, said that the two bills will transform 26 public hospital into corporations.
“These bills essentially turn public hospital services into private. The transformation of public hospital assets into investable funds, allowing business contracts and transforming the hospital chief as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) all conforms to the privatized setting of the hospital. Three out of seven members of the corporate board of trustees will come from the private sector,” he explained in a statement given to media.
Ebesate said that corporatization is privatization in another name where the government is reneging on its responsibility to adequately provide for public hospitals through the shrinking budget allotment and eventually converting these to income-generating corporations.
“The government is instead shifting the burden of providing for people’s health to the private sector. Corporatization is in fulfillment of the government’s plan to fully remove subsidies to public hospitals’ Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) by the year 2014 and Personal Services (PS) by 2020,” he added.
In opposing the move of corporatization, AHW pushes the following for the government to fulfil its mandate to people’s health: provide adequate budget allotment for public hospitals to ensure and improve facilities, equipments, supplies and medicines; fund health workers’ benefits; stop user-fee and schemes in public hospitals; stop privatization and entry of private business in different departments and functions of public hospitals. # nordis.net