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PhilHealth Deploys CARES May 4, 2012

REGISTERED nurses who were trained to become Customer Assistance, Relations and Empowerment Staff (CARES) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) were finally deployed to accredited hospitals last May 2, 2012.

At the Communication and News Exchange (CNEX) Forum at the Philippine Information Agency recently, PhilHealth President and CEO Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon formally announced the deployment schedule, emphasizing that the move was designed to provide PhilHealth members with essential information about their benefits at the point-of-service. "We are initially sending 530 registered nurses to set up post at selected accredited facilities to provide customer assistance to our members and ensure that they are able to avail of their benefits outright," Banzon said.

He added that these nurses were carefully screened from among 23,000 online applicants and were extensively oriented and trained on current PhilHealth policies and guidelines, benefits, membership procedures, accreditation requirements and other basic information that members and accredited providers might need.

The CARES were deployed in all accredited Levels 3 and 4 hospitals, and Levels 1 and 2 government hospitals on rotation basis. They will be at their posts Mondays to Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Aside from responding to basic member and stakeholder inquiries, the CARES may also be tapped to administer surveys and studies initiated by PhilHealth. "They will not, however, collect premium remittances from existing or prospective members at the hospital," Banzon clarified.

Prior to their deployment, the CARES underwent a two-week intensive training on various aspects of the PhilHealth operations. The trainings were conducted simultaneously in all regions nationwide from April 16-27, 2012. "By now, the CARES are expected to have a comprehensive knowledge about PhilHealth policies, programs and benefits to guide them in responding accurately to our members' information needs," the PhilHealth Chief said.

Participating retained hospitals of the Department of Health (DOH) shall station the CARES in dedicated PhilHealth Desks, while other government hospitals may situate the CARES near the Social Welfare office or any social worker agency within the hospital. On the other hand, hospital administrators of private hospitals may decide where the optimal physical location for the CARES will be within the hospital premises. (END) (by Loida C. Ignacio; photos by Juanito G. Pineda)

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