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Message of the Honorable Enrique T. Ona, Secretary of Health, Chairman of the Board and Officer-in-Charge, President and Chief Executive Officer, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)

January 21, 2013


PhilHealth Flag Ceremony, PhilHealth Central Office

January 21, 2013

PhilHealth Board Members Dr. Alex Ayco, Dr. Francis Lopez and Ms. Jane Sta. Ana, COO Alex Padilla, Senior Vice Presidents, Area Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senior Managers, staff of PhilHealth, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

We, the Board of Directors of PhilHealth, accepted the resignation of Dr Eduardo Banzon last Monday, January 14, 2013. We respect his decision and we recognize his contributions in our journey towards Kalusugan Pangkalahatan. In the interim, the Board has elected me to act as OIC-President and CEO of PhilHealth. In this period of transition I would like to assure everyone that the policies that the Board has approved shall be carried out, with particular attention on PhilHealth achievements that were highlighted on the third State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III.

First, the No Balance Billing for Sponsored Program in government hospitals. In his third SONA, President Aquino said: “…ang 5.2 million na pinakamahirap na kabahayang tinukoy ng National Household Targeting System, buong-buo at walang-bayad nang makikinabang sa benepisyo ng PhilHealth”….”Ito po ang proseso ng pagpapagamot para sa kanila: Papasok ka sa alinmang ospital ng gobyerno. Ipapakita mo ang iyong PhilHealth card. Magpapagamot ka. At uuwi kang maginhawa nang walang inilabas ni isang kusing.

However, the NBB study that you conducted sometime in August 2012 in selected hospitals reported that only 13% of the poor patients have actually experienced no balance billing. We cannot do it from PhilHealth side alone. Neither can DOH or LGUs can do it by themselves. During this year, the midterm of Aquino administration, we need to make sure that the NBB policy works, from ensuring that all supplies and inputs to care for our Sponsored families are available, to paying the government hospitals on time to ensure that they have the financial resources to secure the necessary drugs, medicines and other supplies. We also need to inform and enjoin our members to use their benefits and entitlements when they visit health facilities.

Second, PhilHealth reported to President Aquino for his SONA last year that we have already enrolled 85% of all Filipinos. Ang sabi ng Pangulo: Ngayon po, 85 percent ng lahat ng mamamayan, miyembro na nito. Ang ibig pong sabihin, 23.31 million na Pilipino ang naidagdag sa mga saklaw ng PhilHealth mula nang bigyan tayo ng mandato.” However, when I visit hospitals and ask the medical directors, I always have reports that about 30-40% of the admissions have PhilHealth. Clearly, there is a discrepancy between the membership coverage that we have reported and what is really happening at the point of care. We need to devise a mechanism to ensure that the poor patients, not identified by the National household Targeting System or enrolled by their respective LGUs, will be able to be covered when they get sick. We need to test this mechanism to prevent abuse of this mechanism.

Third, I would like to remind everyone that election is just around the corner. Let us be careful that cards distribution shall not be used for political campaigns. It has been agreed last week in the PhilHealth Operations Meeting that distribution of cards shall be coordinated with DOH and DSWD and shall not be endorsed to local politicians.

Fourth, we need to pursue and fast track our reforms in our IT systems. I have personally instruct Dr Marcelo to update the PhilHealth EXECOM on January 28 meeting on the status of our reforms in IT. The Board has approved a lot of the sector’s proposal and we want to know where we are right now and what is keeping us from operationalizing those presented to the Board’s approval.

Last, I would like to have a regular meeting with PhilHealth Executive Committee members. At this time, it is critical that we keep abreast of the implementation of all our policies. While I also have to attend to various concerns of the Department of Health, I expect COO Alex Padilla to look after the day-to-day operations of the Corporation.

I believe that I can rely on you all, as a community of competent and committed PhilHealth officers and employees who are dedicated to pursue the Corporate vision of “Bawat Pilipino myembro, Bawat myembro protektado, Kalusugan natin segurado”. As I assume this interim leadership of PhilHealth, I am asking for your full support. I am counting on the expertise of the Executive Committee members and all our officers as well as the commitment and dedication of each and every staff to assist me as we move towards achieving Kalusugan Pangkalahatan.