” Who is served by this R.A. Definitely not our poorest of the poor.”
by Ducky Paredes
A new law, Republic Act No 8981, is causing a lot of good-hearted Pinoys abroad, many of whom believed that they were serving their original country well and were appreciated for this good work, great distress.
They used to come regularly on medical missions. As doctors, they would cure the sick and do operations on their fellow Pinoys who would otherwise live with whatever was wrong with them since they simply cannot afford what they are getting for free from these foreign medical missions.
R.A. 8981 authorized the Philippine Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) to regulate the issuing of temporary permits for the conduct of humanitarian missions by foreign medical professionals in the Philippines.
The PRC has since written the requirements regarding fees, administrative civil penal sanctions, liability malpractice insurance and other stuff that visiting foreign doctors must fill.
I have been getting mail from our UP Pinoys. Says one doctor: We are infuriated about this arcane change of heart in our Motherland. I may be wrong, but it is a blatant inanity that the PRC in our country are imposing unwarranted regulations.”
I sympathize with these doctors. They know that what they are doing on these medial missions does a lot of good for their patients most of whom have never seen a doctor in their lives or the inside of a hospital or a doctor’s clinoc. Most simply cannot afford medical cares. They also know that their service, while fleeting, actually helps their home country.
What will happen next? Will this be the end of these medical missions?
Says an emailer: “Several missionary groups have cancelled their forthcoming Medical Mission projects to the Philippines. We feel we are unwanted.”
I personally believe that if the PRC is serious about following the law to the letter, foreign-based doctors should simply stop coming on these medial missions. If they do that, who loses? Who else but the Philippines?
Of course, we have doctors in the Philippines, many of whom are very good ones. Some will even attend to patients for free. But, we have a country that is so fragmented — 7,000 plus islands — that many of our people have never even seen a doctor. Of course, these medical missions are needed in the Philippines — the more the merrier!
Medical missions are even undertaken by my Rotary Club – The Rotary Club of Pasig — not only in Pasig but elsewhere, too. If we ever got into a place where they had similar requirements that these US-based Pinoy doctors have to fill before they can do their doctoring in their home country, we would probably lose every doctor in our missions.
The following are the requirements:
– Copy of passport (expiration date must not exceed 6 months prior to departure)
– An authenticated copy of valid professional licenses issued by the country of origin
– Proof of purchase of liability insurance in the Philippines
– Special Temporary Permit ID
For former Filipino professionals who wish to renew their Philippine medical licenses:
– A notarized application form to renew the Philippine Medical License (PRC professional application form)
– A photocopy of applicant’s passport (must not exceed 6 months prior
– Original and photocopy of previously issued Philippine Professional ID Card
– An authenticated original and photocopy of the License/Certificate of Registration/Permit in the adopted country
– Four (4) Passport size ID pictures
– You will be assessed penalty for the number of years your license has been allowed to expire.
“Volunteers are required to pay P3,000.00 pesos for each application of Special Temporary Permit, and are also required to pay P8,000.00 pesos for the issuance of Special Temporary Permit ID.
Explains a US Pinoy: “In terms of dollar value, this is equivalent to approximately $300.00 out of your pocket just to offer your voluntary services for the medical mission. 15 to 20 doctors in the group costs a significant amount of money.
“In addition, each MD volunteer has to purchase liability insurance in the Philippines. It is not only another expense but we have to submit ourselves to unnecessary exposures, frivolous lawsuits in the Philippines and probably subject to defense expenses, waste of time in court hearings and possibly lose of license. We, doctors are already burdened by enormous prices of liability insurance in America.”
In any surgery or medical treatment, it is difficult to predict when complications may arise that includes post-operative bleeding, post-op infection, intra-operative or post-op death, and many others. There are many incentives for medical malpractice lawsuits especially when the Philippine lawyers assume Fil-Am doctors have lots of dollars.
As cancellations of medical missions bring less and less US doctors to our shores, the ultimate victims will be the less fortunate Pinoys, the underserved people in the Philippines who have been the beneficiaries of these medical missions.
Who is served by this R.A.? Definitely not our poorest of the poor.
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hvp 08.22.12Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at email@example.com