90 Days of Dialysis Now Covered by PhilHealth
As of Friday, June 26, 2015, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth announced that the number of hemodialysis covered will be doubled to 90 days per year.
PhilHealth stated that the board of the directors approved of the expansion to help ease the financial burden of members and their dependents considering that the continuous growth of kidney diseases in the country. As of 2013 DOH program manager for the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing, Antonio Paraiso said that close to 23,000 patients were undergoing dialysis treatments in comparison to 4,000 patients undergoing dialysis in 2004. The number does not include people who are suffering from kidney failure without any treatments (Philstar.com). In line to the statistics presented, kidney disease ranked 8th on the top 10 causes of death in the Philippines with 15,900 Filipinos dying because of the disease that year according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
To battle kidney diseases, patients have to go through dialysis, the artificial process of eliminating wastes and unwanted water in the blood (medicalnewstoday.com). Hemodialysis, is the most common method used to treat advanced and permanent kidney failure (medicinenet.com). Hemodialysis happens when a machine (hemodialyzer) filters wastes, salts and fluids from your blood. This is normally done by the kidney naturally but if you are suffering from a kidney disease, your kidney is no longer adequate to filter the waste from your body (mayoclinic.org). Hemodialysis treatments usually lasts depending on how well the kidney of the patient still works, how much the fluid weight they gain between treatments, how big they are, how much waste they have in their body and the type of artificial kidney used (kidney.org). However, the dialysis is only a temporary solution especially if the kidneys of the patient are already failing or have already failed. The patient then needs a kidney transplant to cure and prolong their life. In fact, the National Kidney Transplant Institute – the referral center of kidney patients from regional hospital serves – an average of 34,000 dialysis sessions yearly to accommodate the 10,000 new patients every year.
In order to assist the members of PhilHealth in their financial problems for the dialysis sessions, president and CEO, Alexander Padilla said that they have adjusted the rate from P4,000 to P2, 500 per session. This might sound bad but according to Padilla, after much deliberation, they have concluded that P2,500 is enough to cover the expenses of the dialysis since the normal cost would also be P2,500. To compensate with the reduced amount, the number of sessions that will be shouldered by PhilHealth is then extended to 90 sessions in comparison to the 45 session from the previous policy. This coverage also covers payment for facilities and professional fees of attending physicians of the patient.
This new policy has been implemented and could be used by PhilHealth members and their dependents at accredited free standing dialysis centers and hospitals nationwide.