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Indigent patients get free services from province ran hospitals

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

GOVERNOR HILARIO P. DAVIDE III assures Cebuanos that indigent patients get free hospitalization. They are not required to pay for medicines and hospital services.

Governor Davide told the media last week that all sixteen (16) hospitals of the Province are in better shape now more than two (2) years after his assumption.

With our initial efforts to man and equip the Hospitals which put us in the position to be able to avail and implement the “Point of Care Program” of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC), indigent patients can now avail of free hospitalization with the so-called No out ofpocketand No Balance Billing for admitted patients.

In his Report to the People last month, Governor Davide mentioned that 556 walk-in indigent patients were enrolled under the point of care program in barely six months of implementation.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Cynthia T. Genosolango said the point of care program has vastly improved our health care service provision, as well as saves Capitol’s money.

The medical social welfare officer will interview the patient to determine their paying capacity. If they do not have the capacity to pay, they will be automatically covered in the point of care program. The indigent patient can avail of the hospital services free of charge including medicines and laboratory services.

There are now five health facilities operated by the province of Cebu classified as level one (1) hospitals, meaning these hospitals can provide not just basic health care services but also specialized health care services in Surgery, OB – Gynecology, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Anesthesia.

The latest health facility that has been upgraded into level one (1) status is the Cebu Provincial Hospital – Balamban.

Just like our other Level 1 Provincial Hospitals in Bogo, Danao, Carcar and the Isidro C. Kintanar Memorial Hospital in Argao which is a District Hospital, major surgical operations have been done in these hospitals like Caesarian Section, exploratory laparatomy, thyroidectomy, appendectomy, repair of hernia, among several other surgical procedures done in these Hospitals now.

A priority in his administration, Governor Hilario P. Davide III pledges to upgrade the 16 hospitals into level one health facilities that can handle emergency surgical procedures. When Governor Davide assumed office, only the Provincial Hospital in Bogo City was classified as level one. The rest were mere Primary Care Facilities.

In 2014, it was a big accomplishment that 10 of the 16 provincial and district hospitals were upgraded as level one (1), but have been reclassified this year due to the new guidelines for hospital accreditation issued by the Department of Health.

In addition to the basic laboratory services, ultrasound will now be available in the four Provincial Hospitals. Soon X-ray digitalization will be put in place. We have also recently acquired major hospital machines and equipment like anesthesia machine with ventilators, cautery machine and a lot more which overall make us able to deliver improved and specialized health care services.

The Capitol is paying Php 2.4 thousand premium per household for the Point of Care Program. If a patient’s bill amounts to Php 8 thousand, the hospital can claim reimbursement from Philhealth within 60 days from the date of the admission of the patient.

Dr. Genosolango said the point of care program relieved the Capitol from paying unnecessary Philhealth premiums like in the past. She said the Capitol has incurred remaining Php 90 million payable to Philhealth for previous insurance premiums, but about only 15 to 25 percent of the insured individuals availed of the health insurance within that period.

We have the Hospital Modernization Program (authored by Provincial Board Peter John D. Calderon, Chair, Committee on Health), which significantly includes the Consignment System wherein we signed an agreement with Depart of Health – Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (DOH – VSMMC) to provide drugs, medicines and supplies to jumpstart the Consignment System which is now initially implemented in five hospitals.

Indigent patients can also use emergency vehicles of the hospitals free of charge for patients whose clinical and medical conditions must warrant referral to our main referral center like VSMMC for proper work up like CTScan and further medical management. Provincial Administrator Atty. Mark C. Tolentino reiterated this matter in a meeting with Cebu Provincial Health Office (CPHO) Chief Dr. Cynthia T. Genosolango last September 21.

Tolentino said that the hospitals are mandated to collect fees for ambulance use under the 2008 Revenue Code of Cebu. The Code sets the ambulance fee at Php 200 for the first five (5) kilometers, plus Php 20 for each subsequent kilometer.

But it may be worth to mention that for indigent patients, the hospital staff are directed to waive the payment. “It is a policy in all hospitals that if the patient is indigent, dili pabayron (they are not required to pay),” he said.