An Evaluation of the Medical Pool Placement and Utilization Program (MedPool PUP) of the Philippine Department of Health

Noel D. Lawas, Emerito Jose A. Faraon, Maria Susan T. Yanga-Mabunga,
Carl Abelardo T. Antonio, Eufemia M. Tobias and Richard S. Javier

Department of Health Policy and Administration,
College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila

Objective. This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Medical Pool Placement and Utilization Program (MedPool PUP) of the Philippine Department of Health whose purpose is to augment the medical resource requirements of public hospitals.

Method. Mix method was used to gather data through a questionnaire survey sent by fax, email or postal mail. Beneficiary hospitals were selected and key informant interviews done to both the executive officers and the deployed medical pool physicians to further gain insights on the results of the survey.

Results. A total 75 public hospitals were beneficiaries of the MedPool PUP covering all hospital categories - Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 hospitals. Fifty-one hospitals responded to the survey. Justifications for requesting deployment include: a) need for additional physicians (43%), b) need for medical specialist of a given clinical specialty (23%), c) need for accredited specialist to maintain a residency training accreditation (23%), d) need for substitute doctors while their regular doctors undergo training (8%) and e) need for a trainer of a specific medical specialty (2%). Almost all deployed doctors have finished a residency training program belonging to a medical specialty. Although the work descriptions covering the deployment of the MedPool doctors are focused on providing medical care to the patients, the contributions to the achievements of the hospitals by the MedPool doctors go beyond these. They are also involved in medical training of other doctors, many are also given additional assignments in clinical administration and researches. Some also get involved in outreach services. Many exceptional contributions to the hospitals were given by the deployed doctors. In 12 out of 16 (75%) hospitals visited, the doctors deployed were able to introduce new clinical services such as heart surgery, ophthalmology, renal transplant, hepato-biliary surgery, automation of clinical laboratory procedure, among others. This is the primary basis for this study to conclude that the MedPool PUP is effective.

Conclusion. The effectiveness of the MedPool PUP has been shown to go beyond augmenting the medical staffs of public hospitals in providing services. The doctors it deployed have contributed significantly in improving the clinical services by introducing new specialty services and enhancing existing ones. It is recommended that MedPool PUP be continued and strengthened to fill the needs of public hospitals based on system of priorities.

Key Words: health manpower, hospitals, public, medically underserved area, Philippines