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We are all set for UHC PhilHealth February 20, 2019

The government-run social health insurance agency has all the tools necessary to administer the Universal Health Care (UHC) bill once it passes as law. Dr. Roy B. Ferrer, Acting President and CEO of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), confirms all systems are good to go and that the Corporation eagerly awaits the enforcement of UHC.

"I am convinced that we have efficient processes and strict protocols in place to run the reinforced National Health Insurance Program (NHIP)," says Ferrer and mentions that, "From the top management to the ground level, all PhilHealth employees are apprised of their roles during this momentous transition."

"I am certain that our capacity to run the Program will manifest as we go along with the shift to UHC. PhilHealth can surely manage the increase in applications for reimbursement since the law guarantees outright benefit entitlement to all Filipinos," Ferrer adds.

As of December 2018, PhilHealth only takes 20 days to evaluate and pay a good claim; which is 40 days faster than what the law allows. The Corporation's efficiency proves enough to earn a 92% net positive ratings in a satisfaction survey conducted by a private firm. In addition, PhilHealth has been certified compliant to ISO 9001:2015 standards for implementing quality management systems designed to meet customer requirements.

Moreover, the Corporation boasts of solid virtual frontline services to manage inquiries, feedback, and suggestions on UHC and other NHIP matters. PhilHealth's Corporate Action Center (CAC) Hotline is open to serve the public from 8am-5pm, Mondays through Fridays. The hotline also features an Interactive Voice Response System that logs callers' voice messages after office hours. These messages are retrieved the following business day and attended to by a live CAC agent. Alternatively, members and stakeholders can send an e-mail at actioncenter@philhealth.gov.ph.

PhilHealth also maintains an active presence in social media through its official Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. "We have realized the potential of social media to augment our current advertising and marketing campaigns," comments Ferrer. "These [sites] improve PhilHealth's interaction with its members. We'll be able to grasp what they need to know and what really matters to them."

The Corporation finds it imperative to toughen its anti-fraud measures and recently joined forces with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Philippine Hospital Association (PHA), and Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to tighten the noose of justice around the necks of fraudulent health care professionals and hospitals. Memoranda of Agreement are signed to formalize the collaboration.

During the deliberations of the 2019 budget, Senate President Vicente Sotto III exposed a certain neurologist from South Cotabato who uses "recruiters" to hire PhilHealth members and file for bogus reimbursements.

"I will not allow these fraudulent entities to undermine our noble intentions. Not now, not ever," says the PhilHealth chief. "The people only deserve an honest and morally-upright institution to run their Program. Such conduct has no place in UHC."

The enactment of the UHC bill marks the completion of PhilHealth's journey attainment of the mythical 100%-coverage mark. "In the following years after the law's enactment, everyone who supported its [UHC] fulfillment can take pride for their contribution in improving our health care system. What a great success story it would be for future generations," Ferrer reflects. END (JJ Rico)


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