ID cards, MDRs are free; report fixers — PhilHealth

Marje Pelayo   •   March 4, 2019   •   2329

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Saturday (March 1) warned the public against ‘fixers’ who collect fees for assistance with the application for identification (ID) cards and member data records (MDR).

The state insurance agency said these people use the social media to target current and prospective members to pay a certain amount in exchange for facilitating their application for PhilHealth ID cards and MDRs.

“Such act is considered ‘fixing’ and strictly prohibited under the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007. We reiterate that we do not charge any fees for the printing and issuance of PhilHealth ID cards and MDRs,”
PhilHealth Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ruben John Basa said in the advisory.

The PhilHealth advised applicants “to proceed to the nearest PhilHealth regional office, local health insurance office or PhilHealth Express in their localities, and to transact with the agency’s frontline personnel directly”.

The public is encouraged to report any incidence of ‘fixing’ or similar activities to PhilHealth’s 24/7 Corporate Action Center Hotline numbers 441-7442 or text (0917) 898-7442 or send an email to actioncenter@philhealth.gov.ph. – Marje Pelayo

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PhilHealth’s debit-credit payment method now applies to all COVID-19 high, critical risk areas – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has approved the application of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) debit-credit payment method (DCPM) in areas with high-risk and critical COVID-19 situation nationwide, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the policy on Thursday, April 22.

Roque said the move was made as high-risk and critical risk areas will also be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccine allocation, human health resource deployment, and other relevant COVID-19 response measures, as applicable.

Prior to the IATF’s order, PhilHealth, under its Circular 2021-0004, provides for the use of payment method to facilitate the settlement of accounts payable to healthcare facilities during the State of Public Health Emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PhilHealth initially applied DCPM only to areas identified by the IATF, particularly in the National Capital Region, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal.

Roque said the IATF likewise directed the National Task Force (NTF) Task Group Treat, through the One COVID Referral System, to utilize the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance Using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler for Early Detection of Diseases (FASSSTER) projections on target beds and human resources for health.

“These projections shall identify health capacity needs required to lower health care and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates,” he said.

“The NTF shall also review and implement the recommended Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat- Reintegrate strategies to reduce the health utilization rates and augment the needs of human resources for health,” he added.

Roque said that the task group will also identify target additional beds on a weekly basis that will substantially reduce health care and ICU utilization rates, determine and list specific health facilities and infrastructure to contribute these additional beds, and operationalize how these beds become functional with adequate human resources for health and equipment.

The Palace official earlier said that the government is eyeing to add 200 more ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.

“The NTF shall further engage the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to develop training and instructional materials of available COVID-19 response frameworks to enhance the enforcement of COVID-19 strategies at the barangay level,” Roque said.

The said materials shall be cascaded to the barangay, purok, sitio, and zone levels through the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the regional counterparts of the NTF for immediate and intensified implementation through barangay empowerment, he added.

PhilHealth urged to upgrade dialysis coverage to 144 sessions amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday called on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to upgrade its benefits package for dialysis patients to help Filipinos cope with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Hontiveros issued the statement in support of the call of some advocacy groups for PhilHealth to increase the free dialysis coverage for all patients while the country is still in a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

The senator said the state insurer’s dialysis package should be increased from 90 to 144 sessions, and include personal protective equipment (PPEs), the COVID-19 testing required before their sessions, as well as other supply costs being passed on to patients.

“P12,000 weekly for dialysis sessions, not including transportation, medicine, food, and other daily needs of their family,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“Ngayon hindi sila maka-access ng life-saving dialysis nila dahil puno na ang mga ospital. Karamihan ay nawalan pa ng trabaho, parang wala nang natitira sa kanila. This is a nightmare beyond comprehension,” she added.

According to Hontiveros, advocates from Dialysis PH, a support group for dialysis patients, said that they were forced onto waitlists because the few hospitals that offered dialysis services were already overflowing with patients. It is even more difficult, they said, that dialysis centers shut down completely when the staff needs to quarantine or turn the patients away when they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.

“Marami ang pumapanaw habang nasa waitlist. Hindi sila makakahintay dahil lifeline nila ang mga treatments na ito. These deaths, although not included in the numbers reported, are also caused by the circumstances exacerbated by the pandemic,” she said.

“That is why we have to help as many people as we can by judiciously updating our policies and programs to meet the urgent needs of all Filipinos,” she added.

When Senate session resumes in May, Hontiveros said she will file a bill seeking to permanently increase the free dialysis sessions covered by PhilHealth to 144 sessions to ‘help ease the burden’ while waiting for an organ donor match.

She will also raise this concern during the upcoming budget deliberations at the Senate.

“Oportunidad talaga ito para patibayin ang ating health care system. Nararamdaman na natin ang mga epekto ng pagkaltas ng budget mula sa Health Department sa gitna ng health crisis,” she said.

“Sana matuto tayo para sa next budget season because the price of our wrong priorities is too steep to pay,” she added.

Duterte orders PhilHealth to speed up payment of hospital claims — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to fast-track the payment of its obligations to hospitals, Malacañang said Thursday.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to expedite the payment of valid claims of hospitals today, April 8, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

PhilHealth president Dante Gierran earlier said that the state insurer has yet to complete the processing of unpaid hospital claims.

Meanwhile, Roque announced that PhilHealth approved the application of a debit-credit payment method (DCPM) to facilitate the settlement of accounts payable to Health Care Facilities (HCFs) during the state of public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“HCFs eligible for DCPM must be located in IATF and NTF identified regions, such as the National Capital Region, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal,” Roque said.

The Palace official said these HCFs must have no Interim Reimbursement Mechanism Fund balance on record.

“They must be attending to COVID-19 patients or providing the SARS-COV-2 testing package and their accreditation is not suspended during the applicable period,” he said.

“Through this measure, we are confident there would be continuous delivery of healthcare services, especially in identified areas of concern, amid the rising number of coronavirus active cases,” he added.

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