Kabataan Party-List Initiates Regulation on Nursing Fees

Regulation on nursing fees gets push in Congress
9 March 2011

The Congress Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) in a hearing today affirmed the initiative of Kabataan Party-list (Kabataan), concerned groups and nurses to regulate the various fees nurses are required to pay in schools and hospitals nationwide.

“The hearing today sends a hopeful tone for the crisis-ridden nursing industry because the Congress is now more committed to regulate the various fees paid for by our nurses, fees that are often redundant and cause added difficulty for our nurses to realize their full potential in their profession,” Kabataan Rep. Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino said.

During the hearing, it was established that nurses pay up to Php8,000 per month for six months for volunteer work in hospitals. Nurses complain that this scheme is unjust since nurse-volunteers are the ones paying hospitals which give them work at par with that of regular nurse employees.

Palatino said that volunteer fees go against R.A. 9419 9418 or the Volunteer Act of 2007 which stipulates that nurse-volunteers must get compensation instead of paying for the service they render to a hospital.

Apart from the issue on volunteer fees, Palatino also raised the issue on other nursing fees not limited to affiliation fee, related learning experience fee, materials fee and training fee.

“On top of the expensive nursing tuition fee which can go as high as Php60,000 per semester, students have to pay other nursing fees which are utterly deregulated at present. That is a cause for grave concern because our nurses are being subjected to exploitation for the sake of profit-making,” Palatino said.

Due to the growing call for the regulation of nursing fees, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), also present in the hearing, said that they will come up with a set of guidelines for nursing fees which shall be subjected to a public hearing before June this year.

“That is a welcome development and we have to laud the nurses and all the concerned groups for all their concerted efforts to raise this issue to the government,” Palatino said.

Palatino also furthered that in addressing the problem on nursing fees, the government and its agencies should also address how the nursing curriculum could be altered and maximized to serve the dire need of rural areas for healthcare.

Palatino cited as an example the related learning experience fee (RLE fee) which students have to pay just so they could get added experience and training from hospitals or community work.

“The current nursing curriculum is so focused in getting our nurses to hospitals or abroad when the truth is that our rural areas are lacking attention in healthcare,” he said.

“The government therefore should create programs to build more hospitals and redirect nursing students and graduates to serve in rural areas instead of feeding our nurses the fantasy that abroad is where they should be. The government must no longer focus on exporting our nurses because a lot of countries can no longer accommodate the rapid influx of migrant labor”

“That does not, however, in any way diminish the local need for nurses and health professionals especially since majority of Filipinos are very much in need of proper health services. Again, it is a matter of government policy and priority which we are now more passionate to rectify,” Palatino said.

Source: Kabataan Party-List Website

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