Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to resume its free dialysis program as soon as possible.
“I urgently appeal to PhilHealth to expedite the process of reviewing and upgrading the benefit package for dialysis to sufficiently meet the needs of patients,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Nakasalalay ang buhay nila sa bilis at bagal ninyo. Matagal ng pinapanawagan ito. Hindi sapat ang kasalukuyang benepisyo, lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya (Their lives depend on your swift action. They have long appealed for this. Especially during this pandemic, the benefits they give are not sufficient),” she said.
The Dialysis PH Support Group Inc. had earlier lamented how some dialysis centers reject the PhilHealth cards of patients who have availed of over 90 dialysis sessions.
The group’s president Reynaldo Abacan, Jr. insists that the privilege should last until December as there is still a public health emergency.
PhilHealth spokesperson Rey Baleña reportedly said the state health insurance agency is meeting with stakeholders regarding the ongoing issue.
But Hontiveros said she hopes PhilHealth will expedite the processes for the sake of the poor patients who rely on the government’s free dialysis programs.
“Sa mga panahong ito, ang pagiging makatao, higit sa ano pa man, ang pinakamahalaga. Bago ang pera o kita, ang gobyerno ay dapat handang magbigay ng kalinga sa mga nangangailangan. Ito ang ating sinumpaan — ang magsilbi sa bayan (During this time, being humane, is more important. More than money, the government should be ready to provide assistance to those in need. This is our mandate — to serve the nation),” Hontiveros said.
“Hindi makatarungan na sa panahong marami ang nawalan ng trabaho at naghihirap ay pipilitin nating maglabas ng higit P12,000 sa isang linggo ang mga pasyenteng nagdadialysis para lang mabuhay. Walang pagkukunan ng dose mil ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga mahihirap (It’s unjust to have dialysis patients cough up P12,000 a week at a time when there are so many people who lost their jobs. These people have no means to come up with such money, especially the poor),” the senator lamented.
“Even if push comes to shove, lalo na pag limitado ang pondo natin (especially if funds are limited), we must find ways to fund these life-saving services. Huwag nating gawing ‘sacrificial lambs’ ang mga dialysis patients (Let’s not make these dialysis patients as sacrificial lambs),” she added.