Hontiveros to Philhealth: Continue giving 144 dialysis sessions amid Pandemic

Senator Risa Hontiveros reiterates her appeal to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to continue providing for the full 144 dialysis sessions this year, as the country is still in a state of emergency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dialysis advocacy groups earlier revealed that dialysis sessions could cost up to P12,000 to P15,000 a week, while COVID positive patients would have to shell out as much as P30,000 a week.

“Marami sa mga dialysis patients natin ay lumiliban na o napapatigil sa kanilang mga sessions dahil paubos na ang 90-days na nakalaan under PhilHealth. Their treatments have been paralyzed by compounding issues because of COVID-19. Sana ay ituloy yung 144 sessions ngayong taon dahil pandemya pa rin naman. May health at economic crisis pa rin, kaya marapat na bigyan ang mga dialysis patients ng suporta,” Hontiveros said.

The senator stressed that the coverage should also include other supply costs being passed on to patients.

“Bawasan natin ang kanilang gastusin, imbes na dagdagan. Sana maisama ng PhilHealth ang mga PPEs ng pasyente, pati na rin ang COVID-19 test na nire-require bago sila makapag-session. Bukod sa pang-araw araw na gastos, abunado rin sila sa paghahanap ng sasakyan at sa pagbabyahe papunta sa dialysis centers,” she said.

In November 2020, PhilHealth had extended its free dialysis coverage to 144, but it could only be availed of until December 31, 2020. Even then, patients complained that dialysis centers refused to honor the additional sessions due to the lack of implementing rules and regulations from PhilHealth.

“The almost exclusive focus on COVID-19 is disrupting treatments and programs for other killer diseases. Kidney disease remains the 7th leading cause of death among Filipinos, in spite of the pandemic. We need to reevaluate how we budget for the health department this year, para naman hindi lahat ng pondo ay mapunta sa pagsugpo ng COVID-19,” she said.

Earlier this year, the senator vowed to push for considerable increases for diseases and health programs other than COVID-19 as we embark on a “new and better normal”.

“Nasa second half na tayo ng 2021. At this point, we already owe it to the dialysis patients to ensure that their lifeline is still intact. We must ensure the continuity of our health systems para naman hindi patingi-tingi ang pagpapagaling ng ibang pasyenteng Pilipino,” she concluded.