“To further increase access to the PhilHealth Outpatient HIV/AIDS Treatment (OHAT) Package and to help battle the growing number of People Living with HIV (PLHIV), PhilHealth now accredits stand-alone HIV treatment hubs and satellite treatment hubs in the country as providers of OHAT” said Lourdes F. Diocson, PhilHealth-6 Regional Vice-President.
The Department of Health (DOH)- Epidemiology Bureau data revealed that there were 1,021 Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-positive individuals that have been reported to the HIV/AIDS and Antiretroviral Treatment Registry of the Philippines (HARP) in January 2018.
Of this number, one third or 32% were from National Capital Region. The other top five regions with the most number of newly-diagnosed cases combined, which accounts to 75% of the cases are Region 4A with 16%, Regions 3 and 7 each with 10%, and Region 6 with 7%.
“The HARP, being the official record of the total number of laboratory-confirmed HIV positive individuals and deaths, noted an average of 66% increase in new cases per day from 2015 to 2018. With this, the DOH has established more treatment hubs to bring essential health services closer to PLHIV. It is also in this light that PhilHealth extends its effort to accredit these additional hubs.” said Dr. Amalia Fernandez, Medical Specialist I of PhilHealth-6.
Previously, PhilHealth has accredited institutions delivering the OHAT package and has paid at least P11 million in Region 6 alone in 2017, and about P8 million already for the first semester of 2018.
With the new policy of the Corporation, stand-alone HIV treatment hubs or those operating independently from a PhilHealth-accredited facility, and those satellite treatment hubs or primary HIV care facilities can now apply for accreditation as providers of the PhilHealth OHAT package.
For initial accreditation, the DOH-recognized HIV health care provider may submit the required documents to the nearest PhilHealth office and shall abide by the process of accreditation set by the Corporation.
Once accredited, the OHAT package provider shall follow the rules and regulations set by PhilHealth and shall comply with the guidelines on benefit availment and claims processing.
Further, it should be able to provide services for PLHIV such as laboratory services, adherence and psychosocial counseling, management of PLHIV based on current treatment guidelines, prophylaxis medication, and referral mechanism to other services.
The PhilHealth benefit package for HIV/AIDS is at P30,000 and can be availed of at any accredited HIV treatment facility by an active member and/or a qualified dependent.
Fernandez added that “PhilHealth strongly works hand in hand with partner agencies to reduce the transmission of HIV among the most at-risk population. Apart from expanding our policies, the Corporation is also in full support of the DOH’s prevention and health education campaign to battle HIV/AIDS transmission”.
The DOH has implemented the ‘ABCDE’ of HIV prevention to make the community aware of the simple ways to avoid transmission of the virus. The ‘ABCDE’ stands for Abstinence; Be Mutually Faithful; Correct and Consistent Use of Condoms; Do Use Clean Needles All the Time; and Education and Right Information. (END) (Klarissa N. Alkonga)
Sources: Department of Health HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP), January 2018 PhilHealth Dashboard