MANILA, Philippines — Six senators on Saturday urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to immediately come up with policies and guidelines that will cover patients in makeshift hospital tents while waiting for admission.
This, after Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite revealed that hospitals are charging patients in emergency rooms or temporary tents—which were set up due to a surge of COVID-19 cases—at P1,000 per hour.
Under existing rules, emergency room (ER) services are not shouldered by PhilHealth.
“We appeal to PhilHealth not to ignore the cries of families who have no recourse but to shell out their last money dahil hindi iko-cover ng PhilHealth ang mga pasyenteng nakapila sa ER o yung nasa mga temporary tent (because the PhilHealth does not cover patients lined up in the ER or those in the temporary tents),” Senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Joel Villanueva, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian and Sonny Angara said in a joint statement.
“Hindi po ito maliit na bagay. Huwag naman po sana maging manhid,” the senators appealed.
(It is not a small thing. We should not be heartless.)
The senators said that considering the health crisis that the Philippines is facing due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the state health insurer said that it “cannot claim, as an excuse for its indifference, being drowned by bureaucracy or being choked financially.”
“As a government corporation, it is its obligation to break the barriers and provide solutions in the midst of a health care coverage crisis,” the lawmakers added.
They also noted that under Section 6 of the Universal Healthcare Act, every Filipino should have access to emergency healthcare services.
“In a pandemic environment, PhilHealth has a social and moral obligation to serve the needs of its members. It plays a major role in implementing the UHC law and its services are crucially important,” the lawmakers said.
PhilHealth previously assured the public that policies in line with the COVID-19 pandemic are being reviewed.
On Friday, the country recorded its highest single-day tally of new COVID-19 cases with 15,310.
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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