PhilHealth’s Apex project to accelerate UHC law
By Keren Anne Bernadas
THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Friday launched the so-called Apex Project which envisions to accelerate the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law in this city by establishing primary health care provider network.
The Apex Project, under the brainchild of PhilHealth Camarines Sur Head Annielyn San Pablo, will be first launched in this city as it is renowned for good governance. She said that being a center of good governance, Naga City possesses an active public participation which will make a good factor to implement UHC. San Pablo added that this means that partners and other key stakeholders can help co-create and co-own the solution – decongesting Apex or the end-referral hospitals, maximize primary care, decrease government spending and provide more financial assistance.
“In this way, it will be more relevant for the government to provide opportunities for financial aid and prioritize high-risk patients or those with chronic illnesses,” she said.
PhilHealth Regional Vice-President Henry Almanon said that both the health insurance and the Department of Health are exploring all possibilities to boost the primary care services for all Filipinos. “Through the PhilHealth Konsulta Package (KP), every Filipino has assigned primary care provider so that basic health needs will be addressed in the lower level, and prevention from any diseases will be provided,” he said.
NAGA Mayor Legacion, standing, stresses a point during the ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding with PhilHealth and its partner agencies.
Under the KP program, PhilHealth will financially provide a fund for primary health care need for every registered member every year which will be downloaded to accredited health facility.
The main goal of the program, said Almanon, is a change in behavior among Filipinos. “Historically, the financial resource of PhilHealth goes to hospital since that’s how we behave. We only have ourselves medically checked up if we are already at 50/50 worst scenario; so [the] hospital will try to save and intervene while a huge amount of money from the government was spent.”
Right now, the government wants to address the issue down at the community level where every PhilHealth member is encouraged to register to PhilHealth KP and identify respective primary care provider where it gets basic laboratory tests and medicines for free. Almanon also commended the efforts of the barangay health workers for serving as recruiters and information-givers among the residents to register to this program.
On the other hand, the role of the local government unit like Naga City is to capacitate its health care providers, add better equipment, hire more doctors and widen the coverage of patients being served.
Primary care network underway
On this, Mayor Nelson Legacion said that the creation of primary care network in the city is now on progress as four major hospitals are being enabled and empowered under his term.
PhilHealth-accredited providers for KP such as Our Lady of Lourdes Infirmary in Brgy. Carolina will cover residents in Panicuason, San Isidro, Pacol and close barangays of Calabanga.
The City Health Office I in Brgy. Sta. Cruz may also cater patients from Bagumbayan Norte, Bagumbayan Sur, Abella, Sabang, and Mabolo.
The ongoing construction of the super health center in Brgy. Concepcion Pequeña will also provide primary care services to the adjacent and neighboring barangays such as Concepcion Grande and Del Rosario.
Lastly, the ongoing Naga City General Hospital which will be located at the New Balatas Development Area will eye to become a state-of-the-art level 1 hospital, which sits at the center of the city’s primary health care network. It will operationalize in 2024.
The mayor also directed Mr. Hubert Ursua to make sure that all requirements for this undertaking among these health providers will be complied by the LGU, and properly receive accreditation from PhilHealth.
Dr. Ronnie Gregorio Gigantone III, Bicol Medical Center medical chief also expressed his support to the Apex Project. He also shared that he initiated a health care network with Sorsogon City for orthopedics where patients who underwent surgery at BMC were referred back to level 1 and 2 hospitals during recovery to decongest the Apex. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)