Speaker Romualdez eyes PhilHealth coverage for private wards
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez on Sunday wants the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to shoulder a bigger share in medical bills and doctors’ fees incurred by patients admitted in private wards of hospitals.
In a statement, the Leyte representative bared plans to meet with officials of PhilHealth and the Department of Health (DOH) to discuss the possibility of expanding members’ benefits, particularly increasing PhilHealth’s share in paying for private ward hospitalization costs.
Romualdez noted that the primary patients’ complaint was that PhilHealth only paid 15 to 20 percent of hospital bills and only subsidized 30 percent in professional fees of doctors and specialists for private ward patients.
He stressed that there were many indigent Filipinos who would end up admitted in the private or paying wards of hospitals for lack of beds in the charity wards.
“Not everyone admitted in hospitals are put in free or charity wards because these easily get filled up,” she said in Filipino, adding that he wants to clear with health officials the exact benefits being received by PhilHealth members confined in the private wards of hospitals.
“What the people wish is for PhilHealth to foot half of their expenses when they are admitted in private hospitals,” Romualdez said.
He also quoted Private Hospital Association of the Philippines President Jose de Grano who said that most people, including indigent Filipinos, were admitted in the pay wards of hospitals because hospital beds in charity wards rapidly filled up.
De Grano had added that doctors’ fees were also a burden along with the expenses incurred from confinement in a private ward.
“We will find an immediate solution to how we could make the PhilHhealth members’ wish happen without the need for legislation, which would only lengthen the process,” Romualdez said.
“Definitely, we hear our constituents. Therefore, we have to do something about it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. on Sunday assured the public that a P1.25 billion cancer assistance fund (CAF) has been included in the 2024 national budget.
Campos, vice chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, made the assurance in time for the country’s observance of National Cancer Awareness Month.
The lawmaker said that the CAF this year is 150 percent higher than last year’s CAF of P500 million, pointing out that the amount was increased to help more patients fight the disease which is killing 96 Filipinos daily.
He cited data from the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, which found that at least 96 Filipinos die of cancer-related causes every day and 184 cancer cases are diagnosed in 100,000 patients.
It was also found that the top five cancers that killed the greatest number of Filipinos were lung cancer, followed by cancer in the liver, breast, colon, and prostate.
Campos said the CAF “will directly benefit cancer patients, persons living with cancer, cancer survivors and high-risk individuals.”