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PhilHealth clarifies policy on isolation tents
This was made clear by PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran, who said patients staying in non-accredited isolation tents are “not compensable under existing rules.”
STAR/File

PhilHealth clarifies policy on isolation tents

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Pandemic victims placed in “community isolation unit tents” not accredited by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) are not covered by the state insurer’s in-patient COVID-19 packages.

This was made clear by PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran, who said patients staying in non-accredited isolation tents are “not compensable under existing rules.”

But in the same breath, Gierran said that PhilHealth is “reviewing existing policies to better respond to the extraordinary demands brought about by this pandemic, with the best interest of the patients in mind.”

“Enhanced guidelines will be issued the soonest to ensure that adequate financial protection is duly provided to the patients without compromising quality of care,” he said in a statement.

At any rate, services extended to COVID-19 patients who are in tents that are “part of in-patient care then these should be covered by the current in-patient COVID-19 packages,” Gierran said.

“PhilHealth fully acknowledges the current situation where patients are temporarily placed in tents because hospitals can no longer admit them in regular hospital beds,” he added.

Senators urged PhilHealth to come up with a standard policy and guidelines to cover patients staying in hospital tents while waiting for admission.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sens. Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace Poe and Joel Villanueva said PhilHealth should be the voice of compassion and care for every patient in these trying times.

“It is but tragic that it (PhilHealth) has been unable to respond and reach out to the already overburdened families of patients,” they said in a joint statement.

“We, therefore, urge PhilHealth president Dante Gierran to come up with a standard policy and guidelines to cover patients staying in hospital tents while waiting for admission,” the senators added.

The state insurer guaranteed COVID-19 patients are entitled to health insurance coverage for reverse transcript-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, isolation in accredited community isolation units and hospitalization for mild to critical cases of COVID-19.

“Be it COVID-19 or not, patients should be afforded with all the financial help as guaranteed by the Universal Health Care Law,” Gierran maintained.

However, the senators pointed out that patients are apparently being charged P1,000 per hour for staying in temporary tents at some hospitals while waiting to be admitted to a room.

With millions of lives at stake, the senators noted that they cannot just be silent on reports that patients endure this predicament simply because PhilHealth would not cover their temporary stay.

“We appeal to PhilHealth not to ignore the cries of families who have no recourse but to shell out their last money because PhilHealth will not cover patients queued in the ER (emergency room) or those in temporary tents,” the lawmakers said in Filipino.

“This is no small thing. Please don’t be numb,” they added.

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. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

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