Identifying Possible Gaps and Gray Areas in the Draft Universal Health Care Act Implementing Rules and Regulations: a Thematic Analysis of a Roundtable Event on Local Health Systems

  • Theo Prudencio Juhani Z. Capeding
  • Ma-Ann M. Zarsuelo
  • Michael Antonio F. Mendoza
  • Ma. Esmeralda C. Silva
  • Leonardo R. Estacio Jr.
Keywords: Universal healthcare, health systems, health policy, thematic analysis


Background. The Universal Health Care (UHC) Act is a landmark legislation that seeks to improve provision of
comprehensive health services through the integration of local health systems. The Department of Health (DOH)
conducted a series of roundtable discussions to gather stakeholders' inputs and concerns to refine the initial draft
of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of UHC.

Methods. On April 4, 2019, the Department of Health led a roundtable discussion on the Local Health Systems
sections of the UHC IRR in collaboration with University of the Philippines Manila. A total of 65 stakeholders from
different sectors participated in a semi-structured roundtable event. The proceedings were audio recorded and
transcribed. A thematic analysis was done using NVivo 12 software to document gaps and gray areas identified
by the participants.

Results. Concerns of the participants revolved around the following: role of the private sector in local health systems;
the integration of different municipal and other component health systems into a province-wide health system;
organizational design of the health systems; pooling and utilization of the Special Health Fund (SHF). Gaps and
gray areas were concentrated on the transfer of personnel and other health resources to the province-wide system,
the composition of the Provincial Health Board, and the utilization and management of the SHF.

Conclusion. The roundtable event acquired various perspectives from stakeholders that could help the DOH identify
priority action points that could be resolved at the agency level. The identified themes from the study analysis could
be of value to decision makers to clarify issues, address policy gaps, and to prioritize future research directions.


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