The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Friday, April 2, said that patients who are admitted to tents due to lack of beds in hospitals are still covered as long as it’s part of in-patient care.
“If the services given to patients in tents were part of in-patient care then these should be covered by the current inpatient COVID-19 packages of the program, as opposed to stays in non-accredited Community Isolation Unit tents which are not compensable under existing rules,” said PhilHealth president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dante Gierran in a statement.
Gierran addressed concerns that some patients who had to be “admitted” in tents outside the hospitals because of lack of beds were not allowed to claim PhilHealth coverage.
In a recent hearing at the House of Representatives, Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite said some were also being made to pay a more expensive P1,000 per hour rate.
Gierran said these would be investigated.
“The reported charges of P1,000/hour will be investigated for possible violation of pertinent laws and rules,” said Gierran.
Gierran said that PhilHealth “guarantees” coverage for “RT-PCR tests, isolation in accredited community isolation units, and hospitalization for mild to critical cases of COVID-19.”
“PhilHealth has been reviewing existing policies to better respond to the extraordinary demands brought about by this pandemic, with the best interest of the patients in mind,” Gierran added.
Enhanced guidelines will be issued “the soonest,” he said.
Senators: Do your ‘social and moral’ duty
In a joint statement on Saturday, April 3, senators Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Miguel Zubiri reminded PhilHealth of its “social and moral obligation” to look after its members amid reports on patients’ hospital tent expenses.
“Under the Universal Health Care Act of 2019 (Republic Act 11223), the Senate made sure that every Filipino should have access to health services, and be protected against financial risk. Therefore, all Filipinos are entitled to PhilHealth benefits and service coverages – including emergency and comprehensive outpatient services,” they said.
“In a pandemic environment, PhilHealth has a social and moral obligation to serve the needs of its members. It plays a major role in implementing the UHC law and its services are crucially important,” they added.
The senators said urged Gierran to come up with “a standard policy and guidelines to cover patients staying in hospital tents while waiting for admission.” – Rappler.com