By Analou de Vera and Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) said that a total of P4.1 billion is now being distributed to various hospitals in the country to assist them in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“PhilHealth assures that hospitals are provided with needed funds to cover the costs of treating COVID-19 patients who are currently admitted or to be admitted,” said the agency in a statement.
“This will allow financial liquidity in hospitals to procure the much needed testing kits, medicines, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies,” it added.
The hospitals in Metro Manila that already received financial aid are: UPPhilippine General Hospital (P263.3 million), East Avenue Medical Center (P134 million), and the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (P106.5 million).
PhilHealth said that three medical facilities in the prov
inces have also received cash assistance.
These include the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban, Leyte (P150 million), Bicol Medical Center (P119.3 million) and Lucena United Doctors Hospital (P46.8 million).
The state-insurance agency said that it is also now processing the fund transfer to other hospitals nationwide.
PhilHealth said that for “immediate release” are funds for Quirino Memorial Medical Center (P150 million), St. Luke’s Medical Center (P146 million), The Medical City (P141 million), St. Luke’s Global City (P117 million), and Makati Medical Center (P104 million).
The fund transfer is also now being processed for the Southern Philippines Medical Center (P325 million), National Kidney and Transplant Institute (P179 million), Baguio General Hospital (P165 million), Northern Mindanao Medical Center (P128 million), and the Dr. Paulino Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center (P121 million).
“PhilHealth has called anew on other hospitals to submit their documents for immediate processing. Employees of PhilHealth are now working double time to ensure that said financial aid is released to more hospitals within five working days upon receipt of requests,” the state insurance agency said
Package adjustment eyed
PhilHealth had earlier approved the case rate package for COVID-19 patients who will be hospitalized. The benefits will cover expenses from P8,150 for testing to P786,384 for critical cases of pneumonia.
But Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesman of the InterAgency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF), said Wednesday that the government may still adjust the rates of the PhilHealth benefit package for coronavirus patients depending on the results of a review.
“Sinabi ng PhilHealth na sasagutin po nila ang gastusin ng mga kababayan natin na na-ospital dahil sa sakit na ito – mula testing hanggang hospitalization (PhilHealth said it will cover the expenses of our countrymen hospitalized due to this illness – from testing to hospitalization),” Nograles
said during a virtual press conference Wednesday.
“These benefit packages shall be reviewed within 30 days from the date of implementation in order to adjust the rates,” he added.
Nograles said the approved care benefit package for patients with COVID-19 depending on their condition are as follows:
COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2) testing: P8,150 (all components covered by package) P5,450 (if the test kits are donated) P2,710 (testing unbundled);
Community isolation: P22,449 (with local government unit overhead);
Mild pneumonia (elderly): P43,997;
Moderate pneumonia: P143,267; Severe pneumonia: PhP333,519; Critical pneumonia: P786,384.00 Nograles said PhilHealth shall cover all COVID-19 tests conducted outside hospitals or in non-hospital facilities such as laboratories provided that the facilities are accredited by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
The PhilHealth care package is part of President Duterte’s second weekly report to Congress on the implementation of Bayanihan law. It noted that the Philippine Charity
Sweepstakes Office intended to transfer P420.585 million to the PhilHealth COVID-related packages.
Virus battle far from over
Meanwhile, Nograles said the country’s fight against the dreaded COVID-19 is far from over despite encouraging developments in containing the pandemic.
In his Wednesday virtual presser, Nograles said he understood the people who were asking where the country was in its fight against COVID-19.
“Nasaan na tayo sa kampanya natin laban sa COVID-19? Ang sagot ko sa ngayon: ‘di pa po tapos ang boksing (Where are we in our fight against COVID-19? My answer for now: the boxing match is not yet over),” he said.
Nograles reminded the public to continue following the protocols issued by the IATF to avoid getting or spreading the disease.
“There are encouraging developments and signs that we have made inroads to containing this outbreak, but as we enter a critical period in our efforts to comprehensively assess the extent of the outbreak, we urge everyone to continue to be vigilant and do their part to prevent the spread of this disease,” he said.
“Practice social or physical distancing. Wash your hands. Stay home and go out only when absolutely necessary,” he added.
The Luzon is under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the country has reported 3,764 cases of COVID-19, 177 of whom have recovered while 84 have died.
Reminder for LGUs outside Luzon
Nograles also reminded local government units (LGUs) outside Luzon to coordinate with the Departments of Health (DOH) and the Interior and Local Government (DILG) if they will impose a community quarantine in their area.
“We wish to reiterate that the ECQ covers the regions of Luzon; for areas outside Luzon, such as regions in Mindanao and the Visayas, local government units have the discretion to implement ECQs if they deem it necessary,” he said.
The Palace released the memorandum on the extension of the ECQ on Wednesday. Based on the memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, all concerned agencies are directed to continue implementing existing ECQ guidelines until April 30. (With a report from Argyll B. Geducos)