President Duterte signed into law the law, which grants the mandatory continued benefits to public and private health care workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and other nationwide public health emergencies.

(JANSEN ROMERO/MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) No. 11712, or the Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Healthcare Workers Act, on April 27, 2022.

The new law covers all healthcare and non-healthcare workers, regardless of employment status, during the Covid-19 pandemic or other nationwide public health emergencies that may be declared to the future, from the moment the president declares the public health emergency. until he lifts it.

The benefits granted by RA 11712 will have retroactive application from July 1, 2021.

Medical emergency allowance

The government grants a health emergency allowance (HEA) each month of service during the state of health emergency according to the categorization of risk exposure:

  • P3,000 for those deployed to low risk areas
  • P6,000 for those deployed to medium risk areas
  • P9,000 for those deployed to high risk areas

The HEA is in addition to existing benefits enjoyed by healthcare workers and other healthcare workers. It will be fully released if the worker physically renders service at least 96 hours per month; otherwise, the benefit is calculated on a pro rata basis.

The Department of Health (DOH) may increase HEA amounts subject to Presidential approval.

Affected by Covid-19

The new law also covers healthcare and non-care workers who contract Covid-19 in the line of duty.

In the event of death, the heirs of the covered persons will receive 1 million pesos.

Workers who fall ill and will be treated as service or critical cases will receive 100,000 pesos, while mild and moderate cases will receive 15,000 pesos.

The indemnity is paid to the beneficiaries within three months following childbirth or death and upon presentation of a complete application.

What are public health emergencies?

According to the new law, a public health emergency is an imminent occurrence or threat of a nationwide disease or health condition.

An event may be considered a public health emergency if one of the following causes is the cause:

  • Bioterrorism
  • The appearance of a new or previously controlled or eradicated infectious agent or biological toxin
  • A natural disaster
  • Chemical attack or accidental release
  • A nuclear attack or accident
  • An attack or accidental release of radioactive material

Events that have a high probability of any of the following are also considered public health emergencies:

  • A large number of deaths in the affected population
  • A large number of serious injuries or long-term disabilities in the affected population
  • Widespread exposure to an infectious or toxic organism that poses a significant risk of substantial harm to a large number of people in the affected population
  • International exposure to an infectious or toxic agent that poses a significant risk to the health of citizens of other countries
  • Trade and travel restrictions

Categorization of risk exposure

The new law defined low-risk exposure as health workers performing administrative functions in non-public areas of health facilities, away from other staff or away from patients, also known as “clean areas”.

Medium risk exposure is for health care workers within the health facility who provide direct physical care to the general public who are not known or suspected Covid-19 patients and who work in very busy work areas. attended in a health facility.

On the other hand, high-risk exposure is the direct entry of healthcare workers into a Covid-19 patient’s room to provide patient care involving aerosol-generating procedures or the collection of invasive specimens.

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