City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – The provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani in SOCCSKSARGEN were among the 33 pilot areas or integration sites in the whole country for the implementation of Republic Act 11223 or Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.  This was shared by Dr. Aristides Concepcion Tan, Regional Director of the Department of Health (DOH) XII as he presented the salient points of the UHC Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) during the 4th Quarter Meeting of the Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC) XII in Koronadal City.    

The provinces identified as UHC integration sites are urged to establish their Health Care Provider Network (HCPN) to facilitate the provision of equitable comprehensive, integrated and continuous good quality health services to a defined population. The law provides that the Provincial Health Board shall act as the governance body of HCPN as part of their expanded function.

In support of the UHC Act, RDC XII passed Resolution No. 16, series of 2019 during its 65th Regular Meeting on March 20, 2019 enjoining the provinces/highly urbanized or component cities in Region XII to establish their respective HCPNs. 

All integration sites shall document their experiences and lessons generated in the course of implementing the law to serve as basis for the development of national policies on the integration of local health systems to attain Universal Health Coverage in the Philippine setting.

Approaches and mechanism to achieve the UHC target shall be supported by the DOH and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) through the following: a) technical integration – an on-going activity; b) managerial integration targeted by 2022; and, c) financial integration by 2025.

UHC reforms shall cover eliminating redundancies, simplifying PhilHealth membership, pooling of funds, crafting of national Human Resource for Health Master Plan, regulating coverage for co-payment, transparent pricing, setting standards, licensing and registries, health promotion, data management and health technology assessment.

The implementation of the identified reforms shall ensure equitable access to quality and affordable health care and protection against financial risk.  This is through automatic inclusion into the National Health Insurance Program, immediate eligibility and access to comprehensive outpatient care benefit, and wide range of health care packages.  

The paradigm shift presented under the UHC, from traditional disease management to disease prevention and health promotion, is geared towards accelerating human capital development, one of the strategies enunciated in the Philippine Development Plan, 2017-2022. (Evie Arabis Cabulanan, NEDA XII-DRD)