A joint administrative order was signed on Friday (July 13) by the Department of Health (DOH) which provides the public easy access to medical assistance fund from the government.
The initiative established a one-stop shop called “Malasakit Center” of various government agencies providing financial assistance for medical care.
It is expected to reduce waiting hours, queues, and paper works that patients had to undergo when applying for medical assistance. The order also provides guidance on the amount of financial assistance available from each agency.
“Maximum na puwede ay depende pa rin sa sakit. Hanggang P1M sa renal transplant. Sa cancer ay depende sa type of cancer, meron mga P50,000 to P150,000,” explained Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
The DOH is with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in signing the order.
It states that funds for medical assistance may also come from PhilHealth and the PCSO. Non-medical costs like transportation shall be shouldered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It is expected that PhilHealth will further extend and strengthen its programs for its members through the joint order.
“PhilHealth is now paying for almost, as of May, P40B for the benefits payment alone. But we realize that this is not sufficient. A patient still goes home and still pays out of his pocket and if you are poor, where will you get your money?” argued PhilHealth Vice President for Corporate Affairs Shirley Domingo.
The administrative order hopes to fully achieve the “no balance billing” process wherein poor patients will only pay a small amount to zero. – JL Asayo / Marje Pelayo
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