Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to remove the “expiration date” for its expanded free dialysis sessions and sanction dialysis centers that refuse to comply with its guidelines.
Hontiveros also called on the state health insurance agency to institutionalize their increased coverage of free 144-dialysis sessions so that more patients can avail of the benefit beyond 2020.
“The 144-session PhilHealth coverage isn’t just crucial just because we are in a public health emergency. Dialysis is life-saving, but it is a massive financial burden to have to cash out P12,000 a week, with or without an economic crisis,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“I thank PhilHealth for having this consideration for dialysis patients, pero huwag na natin lagyan ng expiration date ang pribilehiyong ito, lalo na sa panahon ng malalang sakuna at pandemya,” the senator further said.
PhilHealth earlier announced it has approved extending the coverage of hemodialysis sessions from 90 up to a maximum of 144 sessions. The sessions can be availed up until December 31, 2020.
Prior to this, some dialysis center had discontinued giving free session due to the lack of rules and regulations from PhilHealth.
Hontiveros said PhilHelath should make the dialysis program permanent so beneficiaries would not be confused with the policy changes.
She also urged the agency to release the guidelines for the circular and monitor dialysis centers after receiving complaints that many centers still refuse to comply with their memorandum.
“I ask PhilHealth to immediately release the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) para wala ng palusot ang mga dialysis center na ayaw mag-comply (So they won’t have any excuse not to comply),” she said.
Likewise, the senator urged patients and support groups like Dialysis PH Support Group Inc. to report non-compliant dialysis centers to PhilHealth for better monitoring.
“I am warning non-compliant dialysis centers that your accreditation can and will be revoked if you do not follow the circular. Dapat mahigpit itong i-monitor ng PhilHealth, at sana tulungan din sila ng mga support groups, (PhilHealth should strictly monitor them and I hope support groups would also help them monitor),” she said.
She also added PhilHealth should make the process of reimbursement easier for those who already paid for their dialysis sessions, especially because “readily available cash is the lifeline of many Filipino families.”
Under the latest PhilHealth circular, patients who have paid for their hemodialysis sessions are requested to file reimbursement claims with the nearest PhilHealth office.
“Kailangan ng mga Pilipino ang on-hand cash nila para sa mga pangangailangan ng mga pamilya nila. Wag natin i-delay ang pagkain ng mga gutom na gutom. Unahin natin ang kalusugan ng taumbayan. Pagaanin at iligtas natin ang buhay nila (Filipinos now need on-hand cash for their family’s basic needs. Let’s not delay food for those who are very hungry. Let’s prioritize the health of the people and make it easier and safer for them),” she said.