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PhilHealth told: Pay hospitals, health workers

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
PhilHealth told: Pay hospitals, health workers
“We have been struggling like this for more than a year, and both the DBM and the PhilHealth have experiences from last year that they can base on to improve their service with the advent of another ECQ,” Poe said, referring to the enhanced community quarantine.
Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe has urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to expedite payments to hospitals and health workers as the country faces the threat of the COVID Delta variant.

“We have been struggling like this for more than a year, and both the DBM and the PhilHealth have experiences from last year that they can base on to improve their service with the advent of another ECQ,” Poe said, referring to the enhanced community quarantine.

“We must do everything for the health sector and ensure compensation for our medical health workers and hospitals so they can save lives. When this is not done, our situation will get worse. Let’s not extend ECQ to season 10,” she added.

Many institutions are urging the DBM and PhilHealth to immediately release the funds needed to fight the pandemic.

“As the number of COVID cases increases again, our hospitals must have enough staff and supplies. They can do all they can if they themselves are not bleeding. We must not aggravate the current difficult situation by demoralizing our medical frontliners,” Poe said.

She said medical workers from private and public hospitals had said that it was difficult for them to feel the billions of pesos allocated to frontliners under Bayanihan 1 and 2.

Despite the large budget, health workers said they had not yet received the special risk allowance.

Between now and the new ECQ on Aug. 6, Poe said the government is called upon to use the remaining time to provide the people with their necessities for the next two weeks so they won’t have to leave home and take the risk of infection.

“Our kababayans will not insist on going out if there is enough food on their table. They will not go out again if their needs are met,” she said.

Quoting the National Economic and Development Authority, Poe said the economy loses up to P105 billion each week of the ECQ, while the Department of Labor and Employment said as many as 167,000 workers in Metro Manila would lose their jobs and wages during the two-week lockdown.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lito Lapid wants hospitals and health care providers to be more transparent on their fees and charges to prevent patients from getting “surprise billing” or bill shock.

Lapid filed Senate Bill 2334 or the Medical Bill Transparency Act, which seeks to give patients options to choose the health care that is best for them by making them fully informed about their health care packages and the price and quality of the service.

He said that despite the existence of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, the Philippine health care system still has not fully addressed the issue on medical pricing.

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