Wegotmail: Regulating health facilities: Ensuring safe healthcare in the Philippines

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Many people are unaware that health facilities such as hospitals are strictly regulated. The common perception is that hospitals and similar institutions are primarily business ventures or mere facilities. However, in reality, health facilities — including hospitals, infirmaries, clinical laboratories, and birthing centers — are regulated by the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH, through its Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau (HFSRB) and the Regulation Licensing and Enforcement Division (RLED) within the regional offices, oversees thousands of health facilities across the nation. This regulatory framework ensures that these facilities provide safe and high-quality healthcare services. The DOH's mission includes continuous quality improvement, streamlined regulatory processes, fair enforcement of policies and standards, and maintaining a service-oriented and competent staff. These efforts are crucial for achieving patient safety and world-class health services.

Why is it important for people to understand the regulation of health facilities? First, regulation ensures that health services are delivered safely and efficiently. Second, it provides a framework of laws and policies that guide health institutions in delivering better quality health services to the Filipino people. Ultimately, regulation aims to enhance the Philippine health system, contributing to a healthier nation.

The regulation of health facilities involves four core functions: licensing, monitoring, conducting surveillance on illegal or non-compliant facilities, and handling complaints. Among these, handling complaints is particularly challenging, requiring time, effort, and expertise in both legal and medical fields. For instance, in the Davao Region alone, there were 46 valid complaints in 2023, ranging from anti-illegal detention to poor hospital management and violations of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.

Regulating health facilities is a vital task. It is not merely about counting hospital beds; it involves ensuring that regulatory officers—who are well-trained professionals—work diligently to achieve patient safety and high-quality health services. Despite the demanding nature of their work, public health regulatory officers in the DOH strive to improve healthcare outcomes for a healthier Philippines.
Embracing a humanistic approach to regulation, these officers work tirelessly towards the DOH's vision of a healthy Philippines, aligned with Secretary Ted Herbosa's 8-Point Agenda and the government's goal of providing “Ligtas, dekalidad, at mapagkalingang serbisyo” (safe, quality, and compassionate services).  “Sa Bagong Pilipinas, Bawat Buhay Mahalaga” (In the new Philippines, every life is valued.)

— George Evan B. Cuadrillero

gcuadrillero@gmail.com

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