PhilHealth Directed to Expand Primary Care Benefits: Enhancing Preventive Health Services in the Philippines

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa discusses the Department of Health’s modernization plan, particularly the primary care sector, during a press conference in Pasay City on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. PHOTOS BY J. GERARD SEGUIA
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PhilHealth Expands Primary Care Benefits

MANILA, Philippines: In a move to improve healthcare access for Filipinos, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa has directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to expand its primary care benefits. The announcement was made by the Department of Health (DoH) on Tuesday, following a request from President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. and Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Responding to Public Demand

Responding to the call from PhilHealth members, Romualdez has supported the proposal for the state insurer to cover half of the hospital bill, even for patients confined in private or pay wards. This move aims to alleviate the financial burden on patients and ensure that healthcare services are accessible to all.

Enhancing Preventive Care

In addition to the expanded coverage for hospital bills, Romualdez and other lawmakers, including Rep. Erwin Tulfo, have called for PhilHealth to include primary care screening services such as ultrasound and mammography. Health Secretary Herbosa agrees with this proposal and has directed the PhilHealth Benefits Committee to work on adding these services to the current nationwide Konsulta benefit package for immediate implementation across the country.

This decision is in line with the government’s efforts to prioritize preventive healthcare services. By including ultrasound and mammogram services, PhilHealth aims to facilitate early detection of conditions like cancer, allowing for timely intervention and reducing the burden on higher-level hospitals within the healthcare provider network.

Progress and Implementation

The PhilHealth Benefits Committee, chaired by Assistant Secretary Domingo, has already held a meeting to discuss the expansion of care benefits. Following this, the PhilHealth Board of Directors will convene on Wednesday, March 13, to further deliberate on the matter.

As the chairman of the PhilHealth Board of Directors, Health Secretary Herbosa is committed to ensuring the successful implementation of these expanded benefits. By working closely with the PhilHealth Benefits Committee, the Department of Health aims to provide sustainable financing for preventive health services and improve healthcare access for all Filipinos.

Source: The Manila Times

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