Global experiences in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as well as the Philippines’ own journey to UHC were highlighted in a Symposium held recently at the EDSA Shangrila Hotel in Mandaluyong City. It was organized by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
The PhilHealth Symposium, which was supported by the European Union (EU), had for its theme: ‘Bawa’t Filipino, Protektado.’ It brought together international and local experts in health care financing, economic and social analysts, hospital administrators, members of the academe and Health Department officials to discuss best practices in social health insurance program administration.
Gracing the event were PhilHealth Acting President and CEO Ramon F. Aristoza, Jr., PhilHealth OIC-Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Johnny Y. Sychua and Louis Dey, Acting Head of the Development Cooperation of the EU. Health Secretary and PhilHealth Board Chairperson Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial’s message was read by her Head Executive Staff, Dr. Raul Quillamor.
Dr. Konrad Obermann, Senior Lecturer of the MIPH Mannheim Institute of Public Health (Heidelberg University) provided an international perspective on how UHC is achieved, while Ruben John A. Basa, PhilHealth Senior Vice President for Health Finance Policy Sector, talked on the Philippines’ own journey to UHC.
Session 1 of the whole-day Symposium focused on the continuum of health care services and delivery networks within the perspective of what services should be covered. Health Policy Specialist Dr. Maria Ofelia O. Alcantara discussed the Life Stage Approach featured in the Philippine Health Agenda for 2016-2022 while Dr. Enrique Tayag, Director IV of the Bureau of Local Health Systems Development discussed the inter-relatedness of service delivery networks. Dr. John Wong, Chief Executive Officer of Epimetrics, Inc. tackled the benefit prioritization process, while Dr. Anthony Leachon, PhilHealth Board Member, discussed prioritizing coverage for services addressing the top 80 percent burden of disease.
Session 2 focused on how financial risk protection can best cushion the impact of health care costs. Invited to talk on the latest National Health Accounts is Raquel Dolores Sabeñano, Senior Statistical Specialist of the Philippine Statistics Authority. Dr. Elenila Jakosalem, Chief of Bislig District Hospital and Michelle Inso-Libago, Administrative Officer IV and Head of Billing and Claims of Zamboanga City Medical Center provided insights on how the No Balance Billing (NBB) policy has impacted on hospital operations. They presented perspectives on the policy’s implementation at a Local Government Unit (LGU) and a DOH-retained facility, respectively.
Session 3 was aimed at highlighting efforts to ensure that policies and programs relating to UHC are inclusive. Leading the line-up of speakers were Toomas Palu, Global Practice Manager of The World Bank. He gave an overview of the status of implementation of Republic Act 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Act of 2012. Krupska Lenina Apit, Project Coordinator for National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development presented how the less privileged members of society are targeted. Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon, Principal Health Specialist for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department of the Asian Development Bank discussed sustainability mechanisms, focusing on potentials in the informal economy and other sources of funding for social health insurance.
Present during the Symposium were PhilHealth’s development partners, and representatives from the DoH, local government units, academe, and other stakeholders. The activity was among the activities lined up in observance of PhilHealth’s 22nd Anniversary. (END)