Cebu City Council passes telemedicine ordinance
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City has passed an ordinance that would provide telemedicine, or virtual medical consultation, services to residents.
In the ordinance authored by Councilor Alvin Dizon, a system of telemedicine services will be established in the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) and City Health Department (CHD) to maximize the use of technology in healthcare settings to connect health care providers for those who are geographically situated in remote or underserved communities.
The ordinance is catered to those who cannot afford the services of private healthcare institutions but still continue to seek life-prolonging maintenance medical services for their illnesses and those who suffer from mobility restrictions.
“The use of telemedicine helps overcome distance and geographic barriers as well as a consequential and necessary adjustment to the new normal of providing clinical healthcare from a distance given the restrictions imposed by the current global health crisis as far as people’s mobility is concerned, which have inconvenienced people from seeking in-person consultation,” said Dizon.
The ordinance established a system of telemedicine services in CCMC and CHD of which the city government shall provide the means for enabling such services and systems including assistance support, medical appointment, and monitoring and diagnostics.
The standard for telemedicine practice by the health care providers in CCMC and CHD shall be governed by the Department of Health (DOH)- University of the Philippines-Manila (UPM) Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC)No. 2000-0001 entitled “Telemedicine Practice Guidelines” issued on June 08, 2020 and the Philippine Medical Association’s “Telemedicine Guidance for Physicians in the Philippines.”
“The use of telecommunication technology for telemedicine services shall guarantee the integrity, security, and confidentiality of information,” said the ordinance.
The city government would also conduct a comprehensive awareness campaign to communities to promote awareness on telemedicine, its quality of healthcare, and the services and treatments that can be done through telemedicine.
Under the ordinance, a budget of P5 million will be allocated for the program from the city’s annual budget upon implementation.
The ordinance now awaits the signature of Mayor Edgardo Labella in order to be implemented.
Dizon hopes this ordinance get the mayor’s signature as this would bring medical services closer to areas where it may be physically difficult to reach. /rcg
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