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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Steps in getting PCSO financial assistance for hemodialysis

Last week, I was able to successfully to get the needed financial assistance from PCSO for my dialysis worth Php 10,000, good for 3 dialysis sessions. It took a lot of patience and some sacrifice to get it.

I went to the PCSO office in Cebu (in the Reclamation Area) at around 5 in the morning. Had my requirements checked by the guard since you are only allowed to list your name as a walk-in when our requirements are complete. For dialysis assistance, the requirements are:

  • Picture of the patient
  • HANDWRITTEN letter from the patient requesting assistance addressed to the PCSO Chairman (currently it's the HON. MARGARITA P. JUICO thru Engr. Federico Damole, OIC Dept. Manager for Visayas-Mindanao)
  • Medical abstract complete with physician's complete name, signature, PTR number and license number
  • Official Statement of Account from the dialysis center regarding the costs of the dialysis treatment with the Billing Clerk's complete name and signature
  • Referral Letter from the facility's social worker or Hospital Social Service, if any  (if without social worker, letter indicating facility has no social worker)
NOTE: Have 2 photocopies of each when you go to PCSO. That means you have 1 original and 2 photocopies including photocopies for the patient's picture. A patient can designate someone to do all of this for him or her and go to the PCSO it seems.

After having my name listed and finding out I am number 4, I was asked to come back at 9 am. When I came back, the line of people. It is a mix of people renewing their request for assistance and other first-timers. Numbers were being called. Mine was called before lunchtime. I was given a form to fill up indicating family income and expenses basically. Once finished, I went back inside and I was scheduled to come back after lunch for the interview. I was interviewed at around 3PM already. Then for claiming the guarantee letter for the facility from PCSO, I was asked to come back two days after.

pcso letter

When I got the letter, I was so happy. I found out I can renew my request every 2 months. The date to renew is in an index card the PCSO gives you signed by the interviewer. Each time, it appears that the assistance will be Php 10,000. In effect, 3 free dialysis every 2 moths for a total of 12 free dialysis from PCSO a year if you start applying for assistance in January. Each time you renew, you submit the same requirements. 

I handed the sealed letter from PCSO to the dialysis center and that's it! You can insert your PCSO-guaranteed dialysis sessions in between your Philhealth subsidized dialysis sessions. Thank you PCSO. Thank you to those who bought PCSO lotto tickets also. Hehe. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sign my petition on asking for President's help in increasing free Philhealth sessions

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Hi —
I just started a petition on that is about an issue that is very important to me. The more people that sign my petition, the more likely it is to win. Will you help me by signing?

His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines: That a certain amount from the budget alloted before to the pork barrel be given to PhilHealth to increase the number of free dialysis sessions to at least 100

By Narciso Tapia
Cebu City
Dear Mr. President,
According to a 2012 report, at least one Filipino dies every hour of kidney failure making it the number nine killer of Filipinos. And this number is expected to increase.

Quoting Neal Cruz in a 2010 Inquirer article, patients in end-stage kidney disease or kidney failure “…is actually a permanent disability worse than losing an arm or a leg because you can survive indefinitely without an arm and a leg but you cannot survive with failed kidneys.” It is to be noted that in other countries like Japan or Australia, their government pays for dialysis treatments as they consider kidney failure a permanent disability.

Surviving kidney disease patients continue to live because of either kidney transplant (which only few appear to avail of despite the Philhealth Z package) or dialysis (which appears to be chosen by the majority of these patients). For the year 2010, around 14,000 Filipinos are undergoing dialysis. However many other patients have also died because of inadequate or lack of dialysis treatments.
A patient undergoing hemodialysis in order to live will have to spend roughly six thousand pesos (P6,000.00) or higher per session for hemodialysis, dialyzer and erythropoietin injections. The estimate does not include yet blood transfusions some patients undergo during hemodialysis on top of the medications they are already having. This cost is tripled taking note of the optimum standard frequency of dialysis treatments of three times a week. Thus, patients resort to cost-cutting measures like dialyzer re-use, skipping erythropoietin injections and even skipping hemodialysis sessions compromising not just their health but their life.

It is clear that because of the lack of financial resources, only very few can actually afford thrice-a-week dialysis without financial help. Dialysis patients are thankful of the 45-free sessions given through Philhealth which is equivalent to a once-a-week dialysis. But given the function of healthy kidneys removing toxins in the body in a 24/7 basis, a once-a-week dialysis is not enough to sustain life.
With the landmark decision by the Supreme Court declaring the pork barrel as unconstitutional, funds that were allotted before to the lawmakers’ pork barrel will now be available. To recall, some of the beneficiaries of these pork barrel funds are hemodialysis patients who now have to look for alternative sources of assistance.

With this development, may we humbly request that a certain amount be given to Philhealth to increase the number of free dialysis sessions to 100 (equivalent to twice-a-week dialysis sessions)?

If Philhealth can subsidize P600,000 to patients who will undergo kidney transplant, why not increase the no. of free sessions to patients undergoing dialysis enough to be able to have at least twice-a-week dialysis sessions? This will benefit more kidney failure patients increasing their chances to have adequate dialysis. In turn, those who are able to have adequate dialysis will continue to be productive despite their condition.

An increase in free dialysis sessions will certainly be welcomed by hemodialysis patients who badly need any assistance they could get and will be consistent with the government’s target of universal health care. Giving a budget for this directly through PhilHealth will make it less prone to corruption.

As our President, we the undersigned patients, family members, caregivers and friends of patients are counting on your support to help the increasing number of hemodialysis patients throughout the country to have a chance at life. Please help us.


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