Legislators propose the creation of a reserve medical corps


Billy Begas

Three lawmakers, led by Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who is expected to become the next president, jointly tabled a measure to create a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to be deployed in the event of a health emergency like the COVID pandemic. -19.

Besides Romualdez, House Bill 2 was drafted by Tingog representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre. The measure was filed on June 30.

In the explanatory note of the measure, the authors said that the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the inability of the country’s health system to cope with the influx of patients requiring medical attention due to the lack of medical personnel. form.

Citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the authors said there were only six doctors per 10,000 Filipinos in 2017, a ratio lower than the WHO-recommended 10 doctors per 10,000. inhabitants.

“Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore has 23 doctors per 100,000. Vietnam, Thailand and impoverished Timor Leste each have eight doctors per 100,000 people. In developed countries like Italy and the United States, the doctor-to-population ratio is 40 and 26 per 10,000 population, respectively,” the authors noted.

As part of the measure, the MRC will be established and will be called upon to support the public health system in times of health emergencies.

The reserve group would be made up of licensed physicians, including those who have retired and those no longer practicing in a hospital setting, medical students who have completed their first four years of medical school, medical graduates and of registered nurses.

The proposal also directs the Department of Health (DPH) to maintain a register of all reservist doctors, including their addresses, telephone numbers and similar information, and to issue identity cards to MRC members.

It also provides for the creation of mobilization centers in each province, where medical reservists can register for service. CRM members will receive ongoing training.

The President, on the recommendation of the DOH, may call upon the MRC to supplement the military medical corps “in the event of a declaration of a state of war, a state of lawless violence, or a state of calamity.”

Failure to respond to any direction or request for deployment without justifiable reason would result in the obligation of the wandering RMC member to reimburse the government for all expenses related to their recruitment, training and compensation.

A reservist called up for service would be entitled to “receive all pay and allowances, medical care, hospitalization, other privileges and benefits during the period of mobilization as prescribed by law or regulation”.

The bill further provides that “no member of the RCN shall be liable for the death or injury of any person or for loss or damage to the property of any person, where such death, injury, loss or damage was caused in the vicinity by the circumstances of an actual public health emergency or its subsequent conditions, or the circumstances of the formal exercise or training if such formal exercise or training simulates the conditions of real urgency.

The Insurance Commission will also be tasked with “developing a malpractice insurance policy specific to public health emergencies or modifying existing policies that would protect MRC professionals from legal liability…to enable them to respond in good faith in public health emergencies”.

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