According to Enrico de Castro of Tugbok, Davao City, the cost of undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting in the country is P2,000,000.00 and this is the very reason why he endured his chest pain for six long years.
The mere thought of the cost of hospitalization hinders the 54-year-old PhilHealth informal economy member from seeking further medical treatment.
“Malaki na ang nagagastos ko dahil umiinom ako ng gamot araw-araw. Pabalik-balik pa ako sa doktor pero hindi maalis ang sakit ng dibdib ko,” he narrated.
Due to the recurring chest pain, he was required by his doctor to undergo a coronary angiogram, a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see one’s heart blood vessels and help diagnose heart conditions.
“Tatlong bara (sa puso) ang nakita ng doctor, kailangan ko na talagang maopera,” said de Castro. He was diagnosed of having Severe Coronary Artery Disease.
After his angiogram procedure last February, he suffered a heart attack. Fortunately it was also on that same month when PhilHealth introduced its Expanded Z Packages for heart surgeries, particularly for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG), Surgery for Total Correction of Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), and patch repair of Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) for patients who are eligible PhilHealth members or dependents.
In one of his check-ups, his doctor informed him about the PhilHealth Z Package for CABG and advised him that he just needs to pass the selections criteria to avail himself of the package.
He complied with all the requirements and before Marchend, merely a month of waiting, he was informed that he was the first PhilHealth member to avail of the Z Package for CABG in Mindanao.
“Buti na lang dumating ang Z Package. Noong nalaman ko ang good news, umuwi ako na tuwang-tuwa. Hindi ko alam kung paano ko pasasalamatan ang PhilHealth,” he happily exclaimed.
He was very satisfied not only of the PhilHealth benefits he was able to avail himself of but also about his stay in the hospital. “Wala akong problema sa aking benepisyo at sa ospital. Maganda ang facilities at pakikitungo sa akin sa Southern Philippines Medical Center,” he added.
“Maraming salamat sa PhilHealth dahil mayroon silang Z Package. Kung wala ito, nagtitiis pa ako sa sakit ko hanggang ngayon o kung hindi naman, patay na ako,” he said.
For his wonderful experience with the Z Package for CABG, de Castro interestingly paraphrased part of PhilHealth’s vision of “Bawat miyembro, protektado” to “Bawat puso ng miyembro, protektado”.
The PhilHealth Z Package rate for CABG surgery is P550,000.00 and may be availed of at the Philippine Heart Center (NCR), Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and Southern Philippines Medical Center.
All eligible members and their dependents are qualified to avail of the package provided that they passed the selections criteria set by PhilHealth.
Eligible Sponsored and Indigent members, Kasambahay and IGroup Gold members and their dependents may also avail themselves of the No Balance Billing policy when availing of the Z-Benefits for CABG in designated government hospitals. On the other hand, a fixed co-pay which shall not exceed the package rate shall be applied to formal, informal, overseas Filipino workers and lifetime members, should they need to avail themselves of the package.