The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) payout of less than P10 billion ordered by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will greatly help the country’s healthcare system to effectively combat COVID-19, the country’s vaccine czar said on Monday.
“Mr. President, nagpapasalamat po ang mga ospital at saka po ‘yung private at saka mga LGUs, private at saka public hospital dahil kasi po first time po na nangyari na napakalaking babayaran po ng PhilHealth na more or less 10 billion,” Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a report to President Duterte.
“’Yung instruction ninyo po na talagang magkaroon po ng collective decision sa pag-ano po ng PhilHealth ay napakaganda po dahil kasi ‘yung pagbayad ng PhilHealth ng more or less 9.577 billion for NCR, Region IV, at saka Region III, ay nangako po sila na mage-expand po sila ng kanilang mga ICU beds.”
Hospitals promised to allocate 164 ICU beds and open 1,157 beds for moderate and severe COVID-19 cases.
PhilHealth’s payment is expected to boost the hospitals’ bleeding resources since the start of the pandemic, Galvez said, noting as a result of the President’s instruction, more or less 60 percent of their valid claims will be paid.
“Ang tagal po nilang hinintay po no’n last year at saka po ngayon kaya tuwang-tuwa po sila noong — noong maibibigay na po ‘yung mga tseke para po sa kanila. And then makakapag-hire na rin po sila ng mga additional staff,” he said.
LGU hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) will also benefit from the payout, according to Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
Galvez reported that Quezon City, Taguig, Caloocan, Manila, Pasay, Valenzuela, San Juan, Navotas, Parañaque and Makati have initially committed to put up additional 30 ICU beds for critical patients and additional 1,350 regular COVID beds for moderate, mild and asymptomatic cases.
With more than 100,000 active COVID-19 cases, the country will be needing additional 2,000 beds for severe and critical cases. It has a current inventory of 1,395 ICU beds.
A total of 605 ICU beds should be put up to address those cases, the vaccine czar said, adding the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are working to increase bed capacity.
Based on the President’s instruction, PhilHealth will initially pay 60 percent of the hospitals’ outstanding claims starting March 2020 to April 2021.
In his report to the President, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said government hospitals have their own budget for the procurement of other capital outlay.
“So ito po ang isa sa mga pinagba-budget-an po ng ating gobyerno para po sa kanilang mga kama. Pero kung halimbawa nagkaroon nga ng ganitong state of public health emergency na kinakailangan palawigin ang capacity ay puwede naman po nilang magamit iyong PhilHealth reimbursements,” he said.
President Duterte advised government agencies not to be reluctant in spending their money on essential goods and services amid the pandemic, noting, however, that to avoid trouble, they should observe the guidelines on government procurements.
“Do not be afraid to spend money because that is really intended to be spent. Kaya nga natin nilalagay sa budget para gastusin. Huwag kayong matakot magastos. Just follow rules,” he said. PND