This is ridiculous! Senator hits PhilHealth’s non-coverage of patients’ stay in ER tents

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MANILA, Philippines — Patients staying in temporary hospital tents while waiting to be admitted should be covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHeath), Senator Joel Villanueva said Thursday.

“This is ridiculous! Of course they should be covered by Phil[H]ealth,” Villanueva said on Twitter.


Villanueva also pointed to Section 6 of the Universal Healthcare Act, which states that “emergency health services” should be delivered to “[e]very Filipino.”

Sen. Joel Villanueva (Screen grab/Senate PRIB)

“Nasa tent po ang mga patients kasi overflowing na ang emergency room [The patients are in tents because the emergency rooms are overflowing with other patients]. So it makes no sense to exclude them from coverage from the mere fact that the emergency room is already overcrowded,” he said in a separate tweet.

Villanueva was reacting to a statement from PhilHealth Acting Senior Vice President Neri Santiago that temporary tent accommodations have yet to be included in the state insurer’s package, adding there are no “standards” to cover for that so far.

Santiago made the statement during a House of Representatives Health Committee online meeting on Tuesday after a lawmaker disclosed that there are patients apparently being charged by some hospitals P1,000 for every hour they stay in tents while waiting to be admitted.

Such practice of charging patients for that amount for their stay in tents, was deemed unacceptable by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“I cannot countenance a P1,000 per hour charge… Therefore, eight hours, that is P8,000? Hindi po tama ‘yan [That’s not right],” Duque said in the same meeting.

“Mayroon po tayong benefit package ng PhilHealth [We have a PhilHealth benefit package] and we already upgraded this benefit package to be inclusive of different levels of accommodation,” he added.


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