PhilHealth CARAGA Hosts First-Ever, Region-wide SHInES

Padilla gestures as he responds to queries during the open forum with the local government units

A huge success.

This is how the recently concluded Social Health Insurance Education Series (SHInES) in CARAGA can be described, if one goes by the number of participants who attended the activity. The two-day orientation held at the Almont Inland Resort in Butuan City, brought in some 400 participants from the Local Government Units, media, academe, National Government Agencies and Non-Government Organization-partners, region-wide.

About 27 media practitioners from different tri-media outfits, 58 information officers of government and non-government offices, and representatives from civic organizations and the academe attended the SHInES for the multi-sectoral audience held on the first day.

The SHInES for Local Chief Executives (LCEs) gathered almost 250 participants that included 15 mayors and representatives from the different LGUs in the region, and the governor of Agusan del Norte. PhilHealth officers and staff members from various Local Health Insurance Offices in the region also came to learn more about new developments and updates on membership and benefits.

PhilHealth Regional Vice President for CARAGA, Johnny Sychua welcomed the participants to the SHInES for Media and gave a rundown of the topics to be discussed. “We want to share with you the importance of this activity, why we are conducting this for all of you, since you are our partners in sharing the right information to our members,” Sychua said. He added that, “our agenda include IECs on ALAGA Ka series, ReachOut, and other relevant activities that we regularly conduct.”

Ramon F. Aristoza Jr., PhilHealth’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, urged the media “not only to help PhilHealth in promoting the National Health Insurance Program but also help us curb and report fraud.” He said that this activity brings in the intended participants as advocates of the program.

During the SHInES for LCEs, Governor Ma. Angela Rosedell Amante-Matba of Agusan del Norte enthusiastically shared how the provincial government was able to make the no balance billing (NBB) really work in local government-owned Cabadbaran District Hospital, citing success factors such as prudent use of the revolving fund as well as retraining of hospital employees to make them more efficient in assisting PhilHealth members. The governor challenged her colleagues in the region to do the same and implement the no balance billing in hospitals in their respective localities to help alleviate the financial woes of poor patients. “I challenge other LGUs to implement the no balance billing for poor patient-members in their area,” Matba said.

PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer, Alexander A. Padilla mentioned that “for the last seven months we have been going around the country to conduct this activity to really impart the importance of the new NHI Act of 2013 which espouses a paradigm shift in the implementation of the program.” The PhilHealth Chief also shared that “five years ago, PhilHealth was giving out P300 to P400 million a week but at present, we are paying about P1.7 billion a week in reimbursements.” With this trend, PhilHealth benefit payments may reach around P100 billion at the end of this year.

Participants listen attentively to each speaker
Participants listen attentively to each speaker

Padilla urged the LCEs to go beyond the election fever and “be responsible for those who are enrolled in their LGUs and push for the enrollment of Barangay Health Workers and Nutrition Scholars for them to be part of the program.”Making reference to the policy on Accredited Collecting Agents for PhilHealth, the PhilHealth Chief said that the local government units are the perfect collection windows through which premium payments from all PhilHealth members in their localities may be received.

The SHInES aims to further the knowledge and awareness of PhilHealth’s external partners on the NHIP to make them strong and effective advocates of the program.


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