Alliance of Health Workers condemns DOH’s proposed budget for 2018

UNTV News   •   August 31, 2017   •   4807


MANILA, Philippines — A group of health workers argued that services for the poor will lessen  once the proposed budget of the Department of Health (DOH) for 2018 gets approved.

According to the Alliance of Health Workers, P1.5-billion has been cut from the proposed budget of the DOH, which was supposed to be allocated to the maintenance and other operating expenses or MOOE for 2018.

The MOOE serves as the fund for public hospitals’ primary needs like medicines, IV fluids, and others.

With the reduction in DOH’s budget, indigent patients will be left with no choice but to pay for other medical expenses.

“With the help of our health workers in different hospitals in lobbying, we won this because this had been returned the General Appropriation Act. Ubial is repeating this issue again for 2018,” Alliance of Health Workers president, Robert Mendoza said.

The group said seven public hospitals will be affected by the reduction of DOH’s budget, which includes the Amay Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City.

The health workers argued that DOH increased the budget for the Philippine Health Insurance (Philhealth) to P3.906-billion when it does not even benefit many.

“They will order the recruitment of more Philhealth members. We have more patients, more reimbursements. Let’s share in this,” Health Alliance for Democracy Sec. General Joseph Carabeo said.

The group also complained that many health workers are overworked and underpaid, while more than 20,000 of them are contractual workers.

They said the lack of hospital personnel means lower quality of service.

“We have a lot of effective nurses before, but now they are working abroad,” NKTIEA-AHW president Edwin Pacheco said.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, meanwhile, explained the Department of Budget and Management cut DOH’s budget because of their unused funds in 2016.

Ubial said they have already appealed the said move to Congress.

She also noted the increase in the budget of Philhealth stemmed from the fact that the benefits for senior citizens also saw an increase. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

DOH signs IRR of Universal Health Care Law

Freema Gloria   •   October 10, 2019

Patients receive medical attention inside a hospital in the town of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat province. EPA-EFE/JEOFFREY MAITEM

The Department of Health (DOH) has signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Universal Health Care Law.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III led the signing of the IRR of the UHC law or the Republic Act 11223 which was witnessed by various health sectors.

The said historical event marks the implementation of the UHC law following its publication.

Under the Universal Health Care law, all Filipinos will be automatic members of Philhealth as direct or indirect contributors and will equally benefit from the no balance billing (NBB) once they have been admitted to the hospitals’ basic or ward accommodation.

Secretary Duque stated, the implementation of the said law will be gradual due to budget constraints.

At least P257 billion will be the required fund for its first-year implementation, yet only P167 billion has been approved.

By the year 2020 to 2024, the department will be needing more than P1- trillion fund for the operation of universal health care.

Duque added that the Philhealth premium rates will increase by 0.25% per year from its current 2.75%.

Philhealth, on its part, will consider giving new benefits for those who are paying their contributions which will be different from the beneficiaries of the Universal Health Care Act. — FSG (from the report of Nel Maribojoc)

Privatization, case rate payment scheme removal, recommended amid PhilHealth anomaly issue

Maris Federez   •   August 14, 2019

Senator Franklin Drilon at Wednesday’s (August 13) hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee expressed concern on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s ability to pay its members the necessary claims and benefits in the next ten years.

“I do not know how to sustain these in the next 10 years if you keep on incurring a net operating cost. At the end of the day, you might see a collapsing Philhealth,” Drilon said.

This is after the Commission on Audit (COA) released its report of the state insurance’s yearly net operating loss that has now reached billions of pesos.

To which Philhealth vice president for Data Protection, Nerissa Santiago answered: “Those were the years that we increased the benefits without the increase in premiums.”

Other senators were also alarmed by the alleged anomaly and corruption in the agency, including overpayment and ghost dialysis patients.

With this, former Department of Health (DOH) secretary and now Iloilo representative Janette Garin recommended the abolition of the case rate payment scheme and the privatization of some of the operations of the state insurance.

This, she said, will help eradicate corruption.

“Scrap the case rate case. Push through with the individual membership on smaller premium para mawala po ang [so that we will eliminate] ghost members,” Garin said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Blue Ribbon invites Philhealth officials in hearing on state insurance anomaly

Maris Federez   •   August 6, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has set its hearing on the alleged anomaly in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) on Thursday (August 8).

In his privilege speech, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed that Php153-Billion of Philhealth’s fund had gone to overpayments and fraud.

Lacson added that he had requested to send invitations to several Philhealth officials who can testify to the alleged anomaly in the state insurance agency.

“Mga regional senior vice presidents kasi [These are regional senior vice presidents because] many of the information that we got came from insiders from Philhealth themselves,” Lacson said.  (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf


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