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Friday, February 15, 2013

A Plea to Make Easier Requirements for Government Hospital or Surgery Discounts

To begin with, I do not have enough money to afford a kidney transplant. So when the Z package of PhilHealth was launched last year, I felt there was hope at last. I decided to apply under the co-pay classification where the patient shells out a maximum of 600 thousand pesos as his contribution to the transplant.

Since my fundraising efforts has not reached 600 thousand, I pleaded that my contribution be lesser than the maximum. Thus I was referred to the social welfare office for evaluation of my financial capability.

What I got was a long list of requirements in two pieces of paper handwritten.

  • Residence certificate - my own , my wife's and all immediate relatives who will help shoulder the surgery. (Have already mine and my wife's)
  • Certification that I own or do not own "real property" or "land" from the City Assessor's Office. (also my wife's and immediate relatives who will help.)
  • Certification that I own or do not own a business. (In my case, I do not own a business and I do not own any property or land.) Same thing with my wife and immediate family who will help.
  • latest ITR (have both mine and my wife's already)
  • 1x1 picture and whole body picture
  • Certification of Employment specifying position, salaries, deductions and the latest payslip
  • PhilHealth MDR
  • Certification from SSS (not just an ID, but certification..Imagine long lines) that I, my wife and those immediate family who will help me are members or not.
  • Certificate from barangay of residence for me, my wife, etc.
  • A social case study report from DSWD (I think it is based in Labangon).
And I will be getting all of these while I am undergoing this...

and this because of recurrent fever..

I hope there is an easier way to get all of these. I need a bilateral nephrectomy right away to stop once and for all my recurrent UTI and to accommodate a new transplanted kidney.

I do not have household help to do chores or run errands for me. I do not have a car to bring me anywhere. I have to report to work while waiting to continue receiving salary and I am relatively immunocompromised to face many people in the long lines. Is there a better way or system to get all these requirements if we truly want to help the poor sick people? I am not speaking for myself only here.

Attention senatoriables @UNAsaSenado, @TeamPNoy2013, @piacayetano, aspiring or returning congressmen!Vice president @VPJojoBinay DSWD? @dinkysunflower @tomasosmena

I am one of the masses you promise to serve. All I want is a chance at the Z-package. The only problem is I would prefer to pay less than the maximum 600 thousand because I have to think of the immunosuppressive drugs (na di dapat tipirin). With time, I can raise the funds for the expenses posttransplant. And PhilHealth allows a patient actually to pay less than the 600k maximum based on the memos online. 

My wife is a willing donor. She is already compatible with me in blood type and tissue type. Only a pre-approval is needed for us to proceed with her other tests if she really is healthy enough to donate.

Meanwhile, my bills for the antibiotics are piling, my IJ access is reaching one month when it will be prone to infection, and my will is being tested.

Yes I am a doctor but I am not a practicing one. My sole job is a medical teacher and I entered medical school through a scholarship where I strived to learn about the disease of my mother and predecessors which I now also have. 

Like the others, I am getting the requirements one-by-one but I expect it to take some time with my condition. And I will be risking infection which will be another problem. I understand the requirement. I am just asking, "Can you make it easy on patients because they really need help?" 

By the way, here is my humble Facebook page for raising funds at

Friday, February 8, 2013

Social media, my best friend during dialysis

This is how I spend my time in the dialysis facility... Opening facebook, answering messages, interacting with friends. I also log into twitter. Believe it or not, social media helps keep a smile in my face.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kidney transplant, also for non-millionaires who need it

It was Day 4 of my Hemodialysis session and I met this fellow patient who was also having dialysis in the same facility as I am. We shared our stories, the reason why we came to this point. I asked him how long he has been on dialysis and how was he doing. At one point I asked him if he was considering a transplant. He replied no because a transplant costs 2 million pesos.

Hearing this I just realized that apparently there are still end-stage renal disease patients who are unaware of the Z-package for kidney transplant patients and one example is the patient I just met.

And so I told the guy that there is already a Z-package which will reduce the cost of transplant alone to less than a million (excluding anti-rejection meds) if as a co-paying patient or sponsored if classified as an indigent patient. The guy replied that he will still not avail of the Z-package because he does not believe he can afford the package.

And so it struck me. He may not be alone in his belief. Perhaps many patients like him still believe that they do not really have a chance to undergo a transplant under the PhilHealth Z-package.

I am hoping that my kidney transplant under the Z-package will be successful so that I may inspire others to avail of this very timely package and therefore have a second chance of life even if they are not affluent.

Meanwhile I am preparing for an upcoming bilateral nephrectomy this week, an equally difficult procedure. And after that, another challenge...going through days without a single kidney while waiting for the transplant.

Please say a prayer for me and my surgeons and my team of doctors. Say a prayer also for all the other patients who are on hemodialysis who may want to go through kidney transplant. That they not be discouraged by their financial standing.

Kidney transplants should not be for rich patients only. With the Z-package, there is hope for others who are not millionaires.


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