MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to cover the expenses of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients confined in temporary tents set up outside hospitals, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Duterte’s fresh directive came following reports that patients are allegedly being charged PHP1,000 per hour for staying in temporary hospital tents while waiting to be admitted to a room.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s order to PhilHealth is to ensure that the costs of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, isolation, and hospitalization of Covid-19 patients with mild and severe symptoms are included in the Covid-19 insurance package.
PhilHealth, Roque said, was also directed to make sure that patients receiving medical care in tents will be insured.
“Kaugnay nito, kung ang tents ay kasama sa in-patient care, kailangan covered ito sa kasalukuyang in-patient Covid-19 package (In relation to this, if the patient’s stay in tents is part of in-patient care, it should be covered under the current in-patient Covid-19 package),” he said.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite on March 30 revealed that patients confined in temporary tents at hospitals have been forced to pay an hourly rate of PHP1,000.
Gaite also disclosed that the charge for a temporary tent accommodation was not covered by PhilHealth.
On April 2, PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran clarified that the services given to patients that are part of in-patient care “should be covered by the current in-patient Covid-19 packages.”
Gierran said medical facilities charging PHP1,000 per hour rate for patients staying in tents will be investigated for possible violation of pertinent laws and rules.
He also ensured that the state insurer is now reviewing its existing policies to better respond to the Filipinos’ needs, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under PhilHealth’s policy, Covid-19 patients are entitled to health insurance for RT-PCR tests, isolation in accredited community isolation units, and hospitalization for mild to critical Covid-19 cases, Gierran said. (PNA)