The leader of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives has pushed for a separate hospital for the elderly.
Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. urged the House leadership to prioritize the passage of his House Bill 3939 that provides for the conversion of the National Center for Geriatric Health into the National Geriatric Health and Research Institute to make it a fully-operational hospital that will cater to health services for the elderly.
Abante stressed the need for the establishment of the National Geriatric Health and Research Institute, a full service hospital focused on caring for the elderly.
He said the country has 8.6 million senior citizens or 8.2 percent of the population, and yet there is no hospital that especializes on their “almost permanent aches and pains.”
The elderly, Abante said, are as vulnerable to health problems as the very young and yet the country has the National Children’s Hospital and the Lungsod ng Kabataan, both of which are in Quezon City, to address the needs of the young.
Abante filed the bill following his visit last week at the NCGH in San Miguel, Manila, and found that “the NCGH is just an outpatient department of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.”
“Unfortunately, this hospital is not operational because of the absence of a law that allows for its operations.”
Abante pointed out that the latest data from the Commission on Population and Development revealed that 8.6 million Filipinos are aged 60 and older.
“By 2030 to 2035, that percentage is expected to hit 14 percent. Our population is aging, and we must work to develop infrastructure and institute policies that will enable us to properly care for the nation’s elderly,” he added.
“Given how much our senior citizens have contributed to our country, they deserve our care. Benefits like senior citizen discounts and the like are helpful, but we should not stop there. Steps must be taken to improve geriatric health services because health care is the top concern of our elderly.”
HB 3939, or “The National Center for Geriatric Health and Research Institute Act,” establishes the NCGHRI, a 100-bed hospital that will be attached to the Department of Health. Under the measure, not less than 40 percent of the NCGHRI’s hospital beds shall be allocated for indigent patients.
The NCGHRI shall, among others: (1) equip, maintain, administer, and operate an integrated medical institution that specializes in geriatric health services; (2) provide and maintain affordable, quality, and timely hospital care through an efficient health service delivery system that prioritizes the need of the elderly; and (3) coordinate the various efforts and activities of other government agencies and local government units for the purpose of achieving effective approaches to the delivery of geriatric health services.
Funding for the NCGHRI shall be sourced from the DOH under the General Appropriations Act. Aside from these funds, the NCGHRI will also have its own trust fund composed of contributions from taxes, donations, and income from its pay wards.
Donations to NCGHRI shall be exempt from donor’s tax and will be considered an allowable deduction from the gross income of the donor consistent with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.