Six hospitals in Central Visayas, four of which are located in Cebu, will have one-stop shops designed to accommodate requests from individuals seeking to avail health benefits and health-related programs from the government.
Tentatively named “Malasakit Desk,” the project is an undertaking by the Office of the Presidential Assistant in the Visayas (OPAV) in collaboration with the regional offices in Central Visayas of government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and PhilHealth. The aim is to provide convenience and ease for people to process documents needed to avail government-funded health services.
In a press conference on Thursday to announce the project, DOH-7 Regional Director Jaime Bernadas said that the initiative, once implemented, will be the first of its kind in the country.
He said the hospitals, which are all under the DOH supervision, designated to pilot the projects, included four in Cebu: the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and Saint Anthony Mother and Child Hospital in Cebu City, Eversley Child Sanitorium in Mandaue City, and Talisay District Hospital in Talisay City; and two in Bohol, namely the Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City, and Don Emilio Del Valle Memorial Hospital in the town of Ubay.
Bernadas said they identified these hospitals as pilot areas for the Malasakit Desk due to the large number of poor patients.
“Our patients, who are already downhearted with their health complications, they will no longer need to go far, from one government office to another, to process their hospitalization. Everything will be provided for in one hospital,” said Bernadas.
VSMMC medical director Gerardo Aquino, for his part, said that having a one-stop shop will help decongest these hospitals. “This is not just about financial assistance. It’s also one way to decongest our hospitals by providing faster turnovers of assistance, be it financial and medicinal, for our impoverished patients.”
VSMMC, the largest state-owned hospital in Cebu province, accommodates nearly 3,000 patients per day, Aquino said.
Bernadas and Aquino said all government agencies concerned on the implementation of Malasakit Desk have yet to iron out details, such as the target date and budget, before the project can be launched.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino said that OPAV will defray part of the cost of running the Malasakit Desk that could not be covered by DOH-7, DSWD-7, PCSO-7 and PhilHealth.
“Each and every agency has their own budget. But in case there are those which cannot be financed, such as renovations within these hospitals, our office will fill it. OPAV will find ways to fund these areas for the Malasakit Desk,” said Dino.