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Free heart surgery to patients who are members of PhilHealth

By Paulo DS. Papa

FREE heart surgery at the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) Cardiac Center will soon be offered to members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) under its ‘Z Benefit Package.’

PhilHealth Z Benefit Package, based on RA 11223 or the Universal Healthcare Law, covers all Filipino members of the insurance firm who suffer ailments that require costly medical operations such as the tetralogy of fallot, a rare condition caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth (congenital). These defects, which affect the structure of the heart, cause oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and to the rest of the body.

Dr. Juliet J. Balderas, manager at the pediatric cardiology of the Philippine Heart Center in a press briefing on Tuesday, March 21, said that the BMC’s cardiac center is now a PhilHealth-accredited hospital which is allowed, under the Z Benefit Package, to offer free heart surgery for children and adults.

Balderas said the BMC Cardiac Center has already completed the utilities needed for heart operations which are being required before they can secure accreditation. These requirements include operating room (OR) exclusive to patients with heart ailments, an array of medical equipment for heart surgery and an intensive care unit with eight hospital beds.

The press conference organized on Tuesday, March 21, this year, was conducted to discuss the pediatric cardiovascular surgical and interventional mission which already operated eight children in Bicol.

The mission will continue to provide services and free heart surgery to children until Friday, March 24. Balderas said that they can accommodate four children per day.

Dr. Eloisa Victoria Claveria - Barrion, head of the BMC Cardiac Center told the press during the same conference that the mission did not set a number of target patients who were chosen thru several screenings.

One of the beneficiaries was a three-year-old child from Barangay Salvacion, Iriga City, Camarines Sur who suffered tetralogy of fallot. Today, heart surgery costs more or less P500,000 up to a million pesos if will be availed in hospitals without PhilHealth accreditation.


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