DOH introduces nat’l accreditation body for hospitals

Jee Y. Geronimo
DOH introduces nat’l accreditation body for hospitals
The objective of the Hospital Accreditation Commission is to make hospital services in the Philippines more globally competitive through accreditation

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, August 8, introduced the Hospital Accreditation Commission (HAC) which will soon come out with patient- and facility-focused standards for all hospitals in the country.

If [we] want to be competitive in the world, kailangan ipagmalaki natin na yung national standards natin, as good as, or better than standards [of] other countries…[Gumawa] tayo ng Philippine standards,” Health Undersecretary Ted Herbosa told reporters on Friday.

(If we want to be competitive in the world, we have to be able to boast of national standards that are as good as, or better than, standards of other countries. We must create Philippine standards.)

HAC, which was established through DOH’s Administrative Order 2013-0002, is the only DOH-mandated and first PhilHealth-recognized third party accrediting body in the country.

PhilHealth accreditation

Before HAC was created, PhilHealth did the accreditation of hospitals through surveys. Only accredited hospitals based on PhilHealth’s Benchbook Standards are eligible for the reimbursement of hospital expenses and professional fees.

Many found this problematic, Herbosa explained.

Ang criticism nun ay ‘Teka, ikaw [PhilHealth] nagbabayad sa amin, so kung ayaw mo kaming bayaran, eh di ilalagpak mo lang kami,” the HAC chairperson added. 

(The criticism was like this: “Wait, you [PhilHealth] are the one paying us, so if you don’t want to pay us, you can just give us a failing mark and deny our application for accreditation.)

HAC Vice Chairperson Tomas Maramba said the objective of HAC is to elevate the quality of hospital services in the Philippines through accreditation.

The new accreditation process under HAC will involve two levels of participation: basic and advanced.

Herbosa said with basic participation, licensed hospitals will automatically be classified by PhilHealth as Centers of Safety. With 1,600 licensed hospitals in the country, this means PhilHealth members can go to more hospitals and avail of PhilHealth services

These licensed hospitals will no longer be surveyed for accreditation, but PhilHealth president Alex Padilla said they must sign a performance commitment with PhilHealth. 

Advanced participation

Hospitals accredited for basic participation can apply for advanced participation by complying with requirements that will be set by PhilHealth’s Enhanced Benchbook Standards. 

The Enhanced Benchbook Standards, which HAC expects to be approved by its board by September, will focus not only on the quality of the hospitals’ services, but also on their financial risk protection.

Herbosa said accreditation will standardize the quality of health care in both public and private hospitals in the Philippines.

This ensures quality of care even to sponsored PhilHealth members. We want to make sure pare-pareho ang quality of standards, whether [in] public or private hospitals. Ma-enhance dapat yung quality [of] care na binibigay ng mga hospitals,” he added. 

(This ensures quality of care even to sponsored PhilHealth members. We want to ensure the same quality of standards, whether in public or private hospitals. We must enhance the quality of care given by hospitals.)

Once advanced participation is rolled out in February 2015, assessors will be sent in teams to survey the compliance of hospitals with the Enhanced Benchbook Standards. 

Aside from DOH and PhilHealth, the HAC also consists of the Philippine Council on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations, the Philippine Hospital Association, Philippine Medical Association, Philippine College of Hospital Administrators, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Nurses Association.

“With the Hospital Accreditation Commission, we expect to see faster facilitation of requests for reimbursement, and so encourage more hospitals to apply for accreditation to be Philhealth-eligible,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said in a statement Friday. –

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.