PhilHealth to cover leptospirosis victims in Olongapo
MANILA, Philippines – Following the outbreak of leptospiros in Olongapo, Health Secretary Enrique Ona announced PhilHealth would cover all the expenses of the victims hit by the epidemic.
On Monday, October 14, Ona said the total number of leptospirosis patients in the city north of Maninla was at 631, with 249 hospitalized so far. As of Monday, 178 remained in the hospital with 40 expected to be discharged.
"Just to assure our countrymen who are ill in Olongapo, we have, in essence, an order from PhilHealth saying that all the patients admitted in the hospital are covered by PhilHealth," he said.
He said this included 57 who needed dialysis, after their leptospirosis was complicated by renal failure.
The outbreak was caused by the slow cleanup of the city after it was heavily flooded and was placed under a state of calamity 3 weeks ago. Ona reiterated they believe the peak of the epidemic is over.
Meanwhile, PhilHealth president Alex Padilla said PhilHealth benefits "are constantly being expanded." From paying P300 million to P400 million a week before 2010, Padilla says the amount has gone up to P1.2 billion weekly.
"For 2012, we paid something like P47 billion. For 2013, I think we will be paying something like P64 billion," he said.
Padilla also said benefits for patients include room and board, medicine, supplies, laboratories and diagnostics, operating room fees, and professional fees.
Out-patients meanwhile can enjoy free day surgeries, including minor surgical procedures, chemotherapy, radiation, and dialysis. They also avail themselves of free ambulatory-surgical procedures, including primary care benefits for the sponsored and the overseas Filipino workers members and dependents.
He said primary care benefit package would also "soon include maintenance medicines for diabetes and hypertension and there will be a sheet to provide a payment mechanism to all case-rates expanding the no-balance billing for the sponsored members to all cases in government facilities and service accommodations."
"This is in line with our President’s declaration in his SONA (State of the Nation Address) when he said all that are poor can now of to our public hospitals and should not pay a single cent for the service given to them in public hospitals," he said.
In June, the Palace announced President Benigno Aquino III signed a law expanding the coverage of the National Health Insurance to include indigents and the informal sector.
The law made Philhealth coverage mandatory.
The signing of the law came days after the President appointed Padilla, chief of the government peace panel negotiating with the communist movement, as president and CEO of Philhealth. – Rappler.com