ILOILO CITY —- SIX mayors, 13 Vice Mayors, several municipal health officers and other representatives from the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras recently learned more about the salient points of the new National Health Insurance Act of 2013 and how they can continue to make health care a centerpiece program for good governance.
Through the Social Health Insurance Education Series (SHInES) held at the Iloilo Grand Hotel, local chief executives were given first-hand orientation on Republic Act 10606 through in-depth discussions with PhilHealth officers led by President and CEO Alexander A. Padilla.
Also present as resource speakers were Vice President Ruben John A. Basa, OIC-Senior Vice President for Health Finance Policy Dr. Francisco Z. Soria, Jr.and OIC-Vice President for Member Management Alberto C. Manduriao. PhilHealth Region VI OIC-Regional Vice President Lourdes F. Diocson, Corporate Affairs Group OIC-Vice President Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas and Area III OIC-Vice President Evelyn C. Bangalan also joined the Open Forum.
In his message, Padilla explained that the SHInES “intends to deepen your appreciation of what SHI is and what your roles are, especially since health is an indicator of good governance.” He added that through this learning session, PhilHealth also gets to ‘learn the problems, the difficulties, the constraints of different LGUs’ and that while PhilHealth can come up with policies, rules and regulations, it recognizes that some degree of flexibility can be exercised in view of differing situations in the localities.
Speaking on behalf of Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Dr. Alberto Cordero, Chief of Hospital of Dumangas District Hospital acknowledged that ‘PhilHealth has been very instrumental in the extensive delivery of health care to the Ilonggos’ and that it is a reliable partner of the local government ‘in achieving our goal of providing affordable care not only in the Region but for the whole country.’ He also added that the provincial government has committed to implement the policies and programs of PhilHealth and has allocated P500M to upgrade the 11 district hospitals and one provincial hospital in the Region.
Under PhilHealth’s Point-of-Care program, Cordero said that the provincial government has allocated P3.6M as of November 14 and that the province has already enrolled about 726 indigent patients. He added that the provincial government has similarly enrolled barangay service volunteers into the NHIP, and that data from social welfare shows that 9,590 have already been enrolled, with total premium payment reaching P23M. Quoting Governor Defensor, Cordero said that “our hospitals are not built for those who can afford but rather for those who cannot afford.”
In discussing the LCEs’ roles vis-a-vis the NHI Act of 2013, Diocson emphasized that a paradigm shift must be made, from sponsoring the PhilHealth coverage of constituents to providing the services. She also called on the LCEs to strengthen the implementation of TSeKaP or the Tamang Serbisyo Para sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya to ensure the provision of primary care services to constituents.
She also shared with the participants that as of October this year, PhilHealth Region VI has paid a total of P1.2B in hospitalization benefits for the Province of Iloilo, an amount that equalled its payment for the whole of 2013. These payments were made to both public and private hospitals. She also said that turnaround time for claims in the Region is at 16 days on the average. “We are very good partners in Region VI, let us work together towards UHC,” she said.