TWO (2) new benefit packages were recently launched by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) as it marked its 22nd year as the country’s social health insurer.
At the same time, two (2) innovations in client servicing were introduced, while institutional partnerships were forged during the PhilHealth Forward, held at the Blue Leaf Events Pavilion in Taguig City.
In a video-taped message, Health Secretary and PhilHealth Board Chairperson Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial acknowledged PhilHealth’s unwavering commitment to fulfill its mandate. “We envision a period where PhilHealth becomes the main financier of health care services through social health insurance coverage of all Filipinos. We shall do this by strengthening the existing mechanisms that will further empower the less privileged to be pro-active on health matters, without being impoverished by the high cost of hospitalization and other medical services,” she said.
Ramon F. Aristoza, Jr., Acting PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer said that at 22, PhilHealth is at a most opportune time. “Our role in the attainment of the Philippine Health Agenda 2016-2022 is now more pronounced and we have to be ready to tackle the waves when they come. We have to know when to pull back to gather more strength, and when to loosen up when the tides are steady. In other words, preparation is key, and knowing the right timing to unleash our concerted efforts is very crucial,” he said.
The medical detoxification package is worth P10,000.00 and is available at all accredited Levels 1, 2, and 3 government hospitals and Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers licensed/certified by the Department of Health, and to be accredited by PhilHealth. In his message, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella earlier lauded PhilHealth’s move to enhance its products and services, to include the medical detoxification package.
“This is our moment,” said Dr. Josephine Bundoc of Physicians for Peace, noting that the CWD package “is rights-based; it practices equity, it is pro-active.” Describing the package as an emancipatory, user-friendly, and easy-to-operationalize assistive technology package, she shared that during the December 2016 Western Pacific Regional Conference on Disability by the World Health Organization, the UNICEF Children with Disabilities for East Asia and Pacific Region Program Specialist informed her that the package is a "first of its kind” in the area of assistive health technology and that they wish to “replicate it in the (Asia-Pacific) Region.” She expressed optimism that the package will work because “the CWDs, their families, caregivers, and support groups, were highly engaged from (its) development, to formulation and fine-tuning. Ito po ang gusto nila, dahil ito ang tama para sa kanila.”
To beef up its customer service capability, PhilHealth also launched the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS), a telephone-based system designed to manage a large number of calls. The system was recently acquired by PhilHealth as part of its efforts to provide its members and stakeholders with as many avenues as possible through which they can ask about their health insurance benefits and raise other related concerns. It will be available 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week, except during system upgrade or routine maintenance of the system.
Also introduced was the PhilHealth ACR Mobile Application for Android mobile phone users. The application displays the case rate amounts that PhilHealth pays for every compensable medical condition or surgical procedure. It is downloadable for free at Play Store.
On the same occasion, PhilHealth formally recognized the efforts of the Sultan Kudarat Educational Institution (SKEI) in integrating the social health insurance (SHI) module in its Midwifery, nursing and Education courses. The SKEI is a non-sectarian, private school in Tacurong City.
Dr. Dante Eugenio, SKEI School Director, lauded the inclusion of the SHI module as “a giant step towards the right direction” and affirmed the school’s commitment to ensure that this initiative continues. “We will encourage students to be enrolled in PhilHealth, and will convince other schools to adopt the program as well,” even as he looked forward to the day when the SKEI students will become Ambassadors of PhilHealth.
At the same time, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) through its President, Marife Zamora, expressed support for PhilHealth in its journey towards Universal Coverage (UC). “Achieving Universal Coverage in the Philippines is a formidable challenge, one that cannot be achieved by PhilHealth and the government alone. You need partners in the private sector. Universal health care is a concern of all, not only of PhilHealth, not only of the Department of Health, but of everyone. Mr. Aristoza, consider the MAP as your partner in this endeavor,” Zamora said in a statement which was read by PhilHealth OIC-Vice President for Corporate Affairs Group Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas.
The event was capped by the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between PhilHealth and the Philippine Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (PAPO) for the establishment of a Speakers’ Bureau among PAPO members to make them PhilHealth advocates. A trainors’ training will be conducted to ensure accuracy of information on the NHIP. (END)