PhilHealth to mull benefits for COVID-19 patients in emergency rooms: official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2021 04:56 PM

Video courtesy of PTV

MANILA — State medical insurer PhilHealth will consider giving benefits to patients with COVID-19 who are forced to stay in emergency rooms, an official said Wednesday, as hospitals get crowded due to a surge in infections. 

Currently, PhilHealth returns claims for the reimbursement of COVID-19 patients in emergency rooms who are waiting to get admitted to hospitals, said treatment "czar" Dr. Leopold Vega. 

"Pero iyong sinasabi ho namin sa PhilHealth na iyong mga pasyente hong nasa ER na hindi admitted, dapat mayroon silang benefits and the hospital can claim," he said in a televised public briefing. 

"Nakipag-usap na kami sa PhilHealth ho, so through [CEO and President] Atty. [Dante] Gierran at nagsabi na siya na idi-discuss nila iyong benefits especially for iyong mga COVID patients natin na nasa ER na hindi maka-collect from PhilHealth."

(But we are telling PhilHealth that patients in the ER who are not admitted should have benefits and the hospital can claim. We have talked with PhilHealth through Atty. Gierran and he said they would discuss the benefits especially for COVID patients who are at the ER and can't collect from PhilHealth.)

Hospital bed utilization are now at "moderate risk" while ICU beds are at "high risk" in some areas like Makati, Quezon City, Taguig and Navotas, Vega said.

The health department classifies a 60 to 69 percent health care utilization rate as "moderate," and 70 to 85 percent as "high risk." 
 
Despite restrictions, some Metro Manila hospitals continue operating "over capacity" and are seeing "overcrowding" in emergency rooms where COVID-19 patients wait for admission, Dr. Ted Herbosa, special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said in the same briefing. 

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to decide on Saturday on whether or not to extend the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and surrounding Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces. 

The measure was put in place on Monday, with the initial end date on April 4, as COVID-19 cases surged beyond last year's peak levels. 
 
The Philippines has recorded over 741,181 COVID-19 cases, with an additional 9,296 infections reported on Tuesday.