SENATOR and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go has urged state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to increase its coverage for outpatient hemodialysis to a maximum of 156 sessions for 2023.
This, following the adoption of a special provision under the PhilHealth budget introduced by Go that indicates the use of the PhP21 Billion budget pertaining to benefit package improvement under the Universal Health Care Act.
This includes expansion of free dialysis coverage, mental health outpatient coverage, and the implementation of the comprehensive outpatient benefit package, including free medical check-up and other increases in benefit packages.
“I commend the adoption of my proposed special provision under the PhilHealth budget that indicates the use of the P21 Billion budget pertaining to benefit package improvement under Universal Health Care Act,” said Go during the plenary deliberations of the 2023 budget of the Department of Health.
Currently, PhilHealth members and their dependents diagnosed with stage 5 chronic kidney disease and enrolled in PhilHealth Dialysis Database are eligible to receive up to 144 hemodialysis treatments.
“Maraming lumalapit sa aking opisina para sa dialysis. It is the reason why I filed Senate Bill No. 190 mandating PhilHealth to fully cover all costs of dialysis treatments, sessions and procedures done in PhilHealth accredited-health facilities,” Go pointed out.
“Pero kung kaya naman itong i-implement ng PhilHealth ngayon at sa susunod na taon, mas mabuti,” he added.
SBN 190 or the proposed “Free Dialysis Act of 2022” will task PhilHealth, in consultation with the Health Technology Assessment Council, to develop a comprehensive dialysis benefit package which shall fully cover all costs of hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis treatments, sessions and procedures done in PhilHealth accredited-health facilities.
Go has been consistently pushing for strengthened government initiatives to improve the country’s health system, especially in providing better access to health services in the countryside.
Last year, he virtually joined the turn-over ceremony for the new National Kidney and Transplant Institute Modular Hemodialysis Facility and dormitory. The new facility is equipped with 14 dialysis rooms, four hepatitis rooms and two isolation rooms to ensure the safety of the patients undergoing hemodialysis, their families and hospital staff. It is also able to accommodate up to 60 patients on a daily basis.
Apart from the proposed Free Dialysis Act, other health-related measures also make up the bulk of Senator Go’s priority bills filed in the 19th Congress. These include measures providing free annual medical check-up for all Filipinos and instituting the Emergency Medical Services System. He also filed a bill amending the Insurance Code to allow stricter supervision over Health Maintenance Organizations.
Meanwhile, to promote the welfare of the country’s healthcare workers, Go once again filed his Barangay Health Workers Compensation and Incentives Bill and his Advanced Nursing Education Bill. The senator likewise refiled his bills establishing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.
“Napakahalaga sa akin ng kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Kaya marami sa mga prayoridad na panukalang batas na aking agad na inihain ay sa aspetong ito nakatutok,” remarked the senator.
Go also said he will continue pushing for more people-centered and service-oriented legislation, while ensuring non-stop public service delivery to those who need government attention the most.