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

UNTV News   •   August 31, 2017   •   5027


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

Universal Health Care Law must be implemented as approved — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government must not defer the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, according to Malacañang.

Otherwise, it will constitute a violation of the Constitution, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said.

Roque specifically addressed the matter to the management of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) after issues of anomalies surfaced against the agency. 

He said should the agency fails to adhere to its mandate, it would compel President Rodrigo Duterte to for a new leader who will be more capable to implement the law.

Ang akin pong panawagan sa mga namumuno sa Philhealth. Kung hindi ninyo po mapapatupad ang isang batas na certified as urgent ni President mismo, dahil na ang nais niya magkaroon ng libreng gamot ang lahat ng Pilipino, gaya ng ginawa niya sa Davao, siguro po hahanap na lang ng iba na magpapatupad niyan,” Roque said. 

[I call on the leadership of PhilHealth. If you will not implement the Law that the President himself certified as urgent as he intends to provide free medicine to all Filipinos similar to what he did in Davao, perhaps he would opt to find another person who will do get the job done.]

Roque, however, stressed that his statement did not intend to threaten PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales. 

For his part, Morales assured that the agency has enough funds to support the claims of all members. 

“We started the year with about P130-B reserved (fund). So hindi totoong walang pera ang [It’s not true that PhilHealth is out of fund] but we were asking for P153-B for 2020,” Morales explained. 

Ang natanggap namin is P71-B. So may shortfall iyon pero kaya pa ng reserves namin iyon [We received P71-B, so yes, we have shortfall but our reserves can still back us up]. We’re okay for this year up to about early next year. We’re fine,” he assured.

PhilHealth is constantly coordinating with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in case an adjustment is needed in the agency’s budget for next year. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Drilon opposes Philhealth bid to delay implementation of Universal Health Care Law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has opposed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (Philhealth) appeal to postpone the full implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law even amid the slump in collections this year due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Drilon said the UHC law is “critical” in the fight against COVID-19, and delaying its implementation is wrong.

“To halt the implementation of a law that would promote access to affordable care, strengthen our primary health care and make our people healthy to fight the virus is a step in the wrong direction,” he said.

“If COVID-19 taught us one thing, it is that we need to keep people healthy and we have to prepare for the next pandemic. UHC is the key,” he added.

While Drilon recognized the need to address Philihealth’s precarious position for it to be able to sustain its funding, he said it should not be at the expense of the people who are relying on the UHC for their health needs.

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the weaknesses and inequity in the current healthcare system, which the law seeks to address.

The Senate Minority Leader also expressed his concern that postponing the full implementation of the UHC could “discourage poor people from seeking hospital treatments or primary health care even if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.”

Drilon said the implementation of UHC is sourced from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, premium contribution of members, annual appropriation of DOH under the General Appropriations Act, and National Government subsidy to Philhealth.

Drilon said he has already called on the Department of Budget and Management to increase funding for the health sector in the National Expenditure Program for 2021.

“If we learned anything about the onset of the pandemic, it is that the health sector must get a big part of the budgetary pie,” he said.

The health of the people is the State’s responsibility,” he added.

Deadline sa pagbabayad ng Philhealth contribution para sa self-paying members, pinalawig hanggang June 30

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pinalawig ng Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) ang deadline sa pagbabayad ng kontribusyon para sa self-earning members hanggang Hunyo 30.

Sa isang pahayag ngayong Martes, sinabi ng Philhealth  na ito ay upang mabawasan ang isipin sa bayarin ng mga miyembro nito sa gitna ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Sinabi rin ng ahensya na maaari pa rin namang gamitin ang flexible at deferred payment scheme kung nanaisin ng overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Sa Philhealth Advisory No. 2020-038, sakop din ng extension ang pagbabayad sa kontribusyon para sa professional practitioners at mga saklaw ng group enrolment schemes.

“They may pay their contributions at any of its accredited collecting agents (ACAs) and PhilHealth local health insurance offices (LHIOs) nationwide,” ayon sa ahensya.

Sinabi rin ng state insurer na maaaring magbayad ang mga employer ng premium remittances hanggang June 22 para sa mga buwan ng Pebrero, Marso at Abril.

“Employers in the public and private sectors have also been advised that their premium remittances for the applicable months of February, March and April 2020 can be paid until June 22, 2020 without interest, in line with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” ani ng Philhealth.

Inanunsyo rin ng ahensya na maaaring magbayad ng inisyal ang mga OFW ng kanilang remium gamit ang dating rate na P2,400 at bibigyan sila ng isang taon para kumpletuhin ang natitirang balanse.

Nakapaloob ito sa Philhealth Advisory No. 2020-037 na nagsasaad ng mga panuntunan para sa overseas Filipino workers na apektado ng pagpapatupad ng Universal Health Care Act.

“It said that OFWs “may pay at the previous rate of P2,400 as initial payment” and are “granted One year or 12 months from the date of their initial payment to complete their balance for the year,” ayon sa Philhealth.

Nilinaw rin ng ahensiya na sa ngayon ay boluntaryo ang pagbabayad ng premium para sa mga OFW sa gitna ng pandemya ngunit aplikable pa rin ang mga probisyon ng Universal Health Care law ukol sa premium payment ng mga OFW hangga’t hindi ito inaamiyendahan ng Kongreso. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)


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