Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reiterated his assurance that Malasakit Centers remain operational to serve Filipinos, particularly poor and indigent patients seeking medical treatment. There are 71 Malasakit Centers currently operating nationwide.
In a radio interview over DZMM on Tuesday, April 21, the Senator said that aside from the assistance provided by the state-insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the Malasakit Center hosts three more government agencies that can further help patients cover their hospitals bills.
“Kung sakaling ‘di kayaning bayaran ng PhilHealth ay bukas po ang Malasakit Center. Meron tayong 71 Malasakit Centers all over the country,” Go said.
“Andyan po ang apat na ahensya na handang tumulong- PCSO, DSWD, DOH at PhilHealth,” he added, emphasizing that the Malasakit Center is only a one-stop shop that houses the four government agencies that have programs to provide medical and financial assistance to sick Filipinos.
Go said that other than the patients who have been hospitalized due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Malasakit Centers continue to assist patients suffering from other diseases, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, among others.
In previous interviews, Go explained that PhilHealth has a modified package for different cases of pneumonia. For mild pneumonia, the package rate that can be provided is P43,997, while P143,267 can be given for moderate pneumonia; P333,519 for severe pneumonia; and P786,384 for critical pneumonia.
Go added that if the patient is an indigent admitted in a government hospital and he or she does not have the capacity to pay for the hospital bill in excess of the amount already shouldered by PhilHealth using new case rates, he or she may request for additional assistance from PhilHealth subject to its evaluation.
“Bukas po ang Malasakit Center. Ang PCSO lapitan ninyo lang rin po sila sa bill na ‘di kayang bayaran at kung kailangan, pwede kayo lumapit kay Pangulong Duterte at pwede kayo lumapit sa akin,” Go added.
Meanwhile, Go also reminded and appealed to hospitals nationwide to uphold their mandate to treat anyone needing medical attention. He also said that a lot of hospitals are already under investigation because of reports concerning alleged non-admission of patients requiring emergency medical treatment.
“Nakikiusap po ako sa mga ospital, bawal pong hindi tanggapin ang pasyente, dapat ma-stabilize muna ang pasyente. Naiintindihan ko naman na takot kayo but you have to make a system na i-stabilize ninyo muna bago ninyo i-refer sa iba,” Go said.
“Batas po ito at maaari kayong makasuhan. Marami nang ospital na iniimbestigahan base sa mga reports tulad nung sa Nueva Ecija, Caloocan at Laguna,” he added.
Go already gave a stern warning to hospitals in previous statements after six hospitals in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija reportedly turned down a critically ill patient while another patient was also allegedly turned away by nine hospitals in Caloocan City without receiving any form of treatment from any of the hospitals they went to.
The Senator cited Republic Act (RA) No. 10932 or the “Anti-Hospital Deposit Law” where it states that it is unlawful for a hospital or medical clinic to refuse to administer medical treatment and support to any patient.
“Ayon sa batas, kung hindi sapat ang kapasidad ng ospital, maaaring i-transfer ang pasyente sa ospital na may kakayahang magbigay ng tamang lunas,” Go also said.
Transfers can only be done after necessary emergency treatment and support have been given to stabilize a patient’s condition and that there is less risk posed to the patient by the transfer.
Violators, according to Go, will be dealt with and penalized according to the law. The violation will lead to four to six years in jail and a fine of P500,000 to P1,000,000 for hospital officials involved./Stacy Ang