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House OKs bill providing medical scholarship, return of service Featured

House OKs bill providing medical scholarship, return of service

MANILA -- The House of Representatives on Monday, Nov. 20, approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to create a medical scholarship program aimed to address the shortage of doctors in the country.
With a vote of 223 in the affirmative, zero in the negative and zero abstentions, the chamber approved House Bill 6571 or the proposed Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program Act.
The measure mandates the establishment of a medical scholarship and return service program for deserving students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs) or in private higher education institutions (PHEi) in regions where no SUC offers medicine.
At least one scholar from each municipality will be accepted in the program, but this is still dependent on the number of government doctors needed for each province or municipality as determined by the Department of Health (DOH).
Scholars of the program will be granted the following financial assistance:
Free tuition and other school fees;
Allowance for prescribed books, supplies and equipment;
Clothing or uniform allowance;
Allowance for dormitory or boarding house accommodation;
Transportation allowance;
Internship fees, including financial assistance during post-graduate internship;
Medical board review fees;
Annual medical insurance;
Other education-related miscellaneous or living allowances
Scholarship grantees, however, must meet the following conditions:
The scholar should finish the entire Doctor of Medicine program in the prescribed time frame in the SUC or PHEi where he/she is enrolled in, subject to the retention policies of the SUC or PHEI;
He/She should undertake post-graduate internship in a DOH-accredited public health facility or hospital upon graduation from a four-year Doctor of Medicine program;
He/she should serve in a government public health office or government hospital in the scholar’s hometown or in the absence of a need, in any municipality within the scholar’s home province or in any underserved municipality closest to the scholar’s hometown or province determined by the DOH as a priority area, for at least eight years, or two years for every scholarship year availed of.
Return service must be completed within 10 years upon completion of internship for those who have availed of a four-year program, and 12 years for those who have availed of a five-year program, upon passing the licensure examination for physicians, which will be part of the mandatory return service and integration into the public health and medical service system.
Grantees of the program may lose their scholarship and pay its full scholarship if he/she accepts another scholarship from other government or private agencies or entities, fails 40 percent of the subjects or fails to meet the academic requirements, fails to pass the licensure examination for physicians for the second time, and commits behavioral conduct that would bring significant damage to the HEI, government institution concerned, persons, and community.
At the same time, if the scholar, upon becoming a physician, fails or refuses to serve the conditions provided in the program, he/she will be required to pay twice the full cost of the scholarship including other benefits and expenses incurred in the scholarship program. — GMA News

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