A House leader has commended the executive department’s recent move to provide additional assistance to the country’s needy hemodialysis patients.
Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo specifically hailed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), which increased the coverage of hemodialysis services from 90 to 144 sessions for the country’s more than 36,000 indigent patients.
PhilHealth approved the increased coverage via Board Resolution No. 2718, s. 2022.
Under its implementing Circular No. 2022-0017 published on Aug. 3, 2022, PhilHealth has established guidelines in availing the Outpatient Hemodialysis Benefit Package.
Patients with chronic kidney disease stage 5 (CKD-5) shall be allowed to avail of the maximum of 144 hemodialysis sessions for calendar year 2022 based on the prescription of their attending physician.
“The increased coverage gives hope and allays the fear of CKD-5 patients whose families are deeply anxious where to get the payments of the dialysis sessions of their loved ones beyond the original coverage of 90 sessions,” explained Salo, chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs.
Salo conveyed this concern of hemodialysis patients and their families to PhilHealth’s OIC Executive Officer Eli Dino Santos in his meeting with Philhealth officials on July 26, 2022.
On Aug. 1, 2022, Salo also met with Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire who assured him of the immediate issuance on that day of a supporting circular.
“This timely intervention is immensely welcomed as this will help many of our countrymen and women who are fighting to prolong their lives,” Salo added.
PhilHealth has noted that around 2.3 million Filipinos have CKD. In 2016 alone, more than 36,000 patients were on dialysis treatment, which reflected a 15 percent increase in the number of patients in just one year.
“The increase in CKD patients among the population is alarming because if left untreated, CKD leads to death.The problem is further aggravated by the expensive cost of hemodialysis services,” Salo noted.
Alongside the increase in the hemodialysis coverage, the party-list solon is pushing for the passage of a bill he authored – House Bill (HB) No. 723 – that proposes organ transplant as a long-term solution to CKD.
“There are many Filipinos suffering from chronic renal failure. It is high time that we institute programs that will strengthen our services for CKD patients and improve their quality of life,” Salo said.