By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senators today urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to swiftly amend its policy on hospital tent coverage after reports say that patients had to pay P1,000 per hour in hospital tents simply because PhilHealth would not cover their temporary stay.
In a joint statement issued by Senators Nancy Binay, Joel Villanueva, Miguel Zubiri, Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Grace Poe, the senators asked Philhealth to “immediately come up with a standard policy and guidelines” to cover patients staying in hospital tents while waiting for admission.
“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,” the statement read.
“Hindi po ito maliit na bagay. Huwag naman po sana maging manhid,” it added.
The senators cited the rising number of COVID cases in the country and noted how hospitals are already overcrowded, forcing many people to stay in temporary hospital tents.
“Considering the continued rise in Covid-related cases, PhilHealth 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 senators said.
The senators pointed out Section 6 of the Universal Healthcare Act, which states that every Filipino should have access to emergency health services.
“Under the Universal Health Care Act of 2019 (Republic Act 11223), the Senate made sure that every Filipino should have access to health services, and be protected against financial risk.
Therefore, all Filipinos are entitled to PhilHealth benefits and service coverage —including emergency and comprehensive outpatient services,” the senators said.
“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,” they added.
Under the UHC law, the benefit package covering different levels of accommodation has already been upgraded, but the senators noted that PhilHealth failed to adapt and respond to extraordinary situations.
“In these trying times, PhilHealth should be the voice of compassion and care for every patient. It is but tragic that it has been unable to respond and reach out to the already overburden families of patients,” they added. (AI/MTVN)