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DOH explains reforms in healthcare system under Aquino administration

Friday, July 20, 2012 07:15 AM    Views : 1457by:Presidential Communications Operations Office

The Aquino administration has changed the country's health care system, replacing the old dole out method adapted by the universal healthcare, a health official said on Thursday.

In a press briefing in Malacanang, Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa explained the phasing out of the charity wards in government hospitals and replacing them with health insurance for poor beneficiaries.

Herbosa pointed out that before, when the poor got sick, they went to public hospitals and were admitted in charity beds. Patients in charity wards were asked to buy their own medicines, pay for x-ray and CT scans and laboratory exams, usually in badly managed government hospitals, he said.

To cover the expenses, indigents usually ask for the help of local politicians, nongovernment organizations and religious organizations or try to raise their own money, Herbosa said.

"What we do now is what is called the universal healthcare. Ito na ‘yung tinatawag nating Kalusugang Pangkalahatan," Herbosa said adding that the one put in the disadvantage in the old system were the poor people.

But under the Aquino administration, the Department of Social Welfare and Development was able to identify the 5.2 million households, considered as the poorest in the population through a national targeting system.

The national government is sponsoring the health insurance for the less privelege under PhilHealth, Herbosa said, adding that the national government has paid for the insurance of those in the national households listed as the poorest. "Ito ang 5.2 million, ang budget that government allocated for this year is P12 billion, which is a big budget. It used to be the budget of DOH in the past. And now, it's just the budget to enroll the poorest Filipinos," Herbosa stressed.

Now, because the poor are PhilHealth members, they are entitled to health benefits after being insured to the national health insurance. All government hospitals are supposed to accept those enrolled in the sponsored program on a "no-balance billing" system of the DOH, Herbosa said.

"That means, no additional payment, they'll just have to come with their PhilHealth membership cards. So you go to the hospital if you're sick and get the health benefit that PhilHealth is supposed to give you. Ang government hospital na ang bahalang mag-bill sa PhilHealth to pay us back for the services we gave you," he added.

The health official also said the idea is to completely eliminate charity wards in government hospitals or the dole out concept and replace them with a wider universal healthcare coverage.

"The government is close to reaching a 100-percent universal healthcare coverage," Herbosa said. "In fact, according to PhilHealth, the total percentage of the population already covered is more than 80 percent of the population, as of today."


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