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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

House panel approves bill regulating doctors
03 September 2020 08:02:01 PM

Rep. Angelina “Helen” D.L. Tan, M.D.
4th District, Quezon
Chairperson, Committee on Health
03 September 2020

House panel approves bill regulating doctors

The House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation chaired by Rep. Frederick Siao today has unanimously approved a bill that will regulate medical professionals in the country. The Physicians’ Act, which was primarily authored by Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan of the 4th District of Quezon, seeks to repeal the outdated Medical Act of 1959 that is no longer responsive to the scientific advancements and medical landscape of the modern times.

Tan, who is also the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, led the Technical Working Group (TWG) that drafted the substitute bill after a series of extensive consultations with various stakeholders from the medical professional organizations

In her sponsorship of the measure, Tan explained that the Physicians’ Act will cover the regulation of the medical education, which is inclusive of clinical clerkship, post-graduate medical internship, licensure and residency program.

“Due to the unique nature of the medical profession, I deem it necessary to cover all aspects of medical education and training in crafting a more up-to-date regulatory law which will address the issues and gaps that we encounter in the ground and in the practice of our medical professionals”, Tan said.

The bill seeks to establish the Integrated National Professional Organization of the Physicians, which will serve as the national organization to which all physicians will become a mandatory member – a model patterned after the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Tan underscored that “This organization will become a partner of the government authorities in all its activities concerning physicians. A unified group of physicians will definitely elevate the standards of the medical profession, improve healthcare delivery, and enable the physicians to discharge their responsibility more effectively.”

One of the important features of the bill is the creation of the Post-Graduate Medical Education which will govern the standards, policies, certification and training of all post-graduate trainings of physicians or the medical residency, a deviation from the current practice where the Philippine Medical Association’s Specialty Societies, a private entity, has governed the training and certification of specialists and has self-regulated for over several years.

“The intention in creating this body is to streamline the certification of specialists in the country and to have a national regulatory and quality assurance arrangements for education and training for medical professionals. There have been several problems in residency/specialty and fellowship training such as difficulty in obtaining slots, favoritism in selection of trainees, overworked and underpaid residents, which may be attributed to the absence of a government regulatory agency or body that will supervise and monitor the conduct of medical residency/specialty or fellowship trainings in the country. If we want a better healthcare system especially in these trying times, we should shift our focus to the manpower that fuels it”, Tan stressed.

The bill also features regulations governing medical residency training that were set to provide humane working conditions for residents, including decent salary and other benefits, and higher standards of professional conduct.

The Physicians’Act once enacted into law is hoped to address the problem of the emergence of many medical organizations in the country that is causing a lot of confusion to the Professional Regulation Commission, especially in complying with the country’s obligation towards ASEAN Integration. ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Medical Practitioners to which the Philippines is a signatory.#