PhilHealth benefits not only indigent patients but the hospital itself as well.
Rep. Erico Aristotle â€œArisâ€ Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) expressed this observation after the â€œrejuvenationâ€ of the Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital (DEDVMH) in Ubay town.
Aumentado noted that the hospital has weaned itself from the moniker â€œdel Vallebadâ€. It used to decline (balibad) admission of patients because of lack of facilities, medicines and/or specialists.
Today, the hospital is in the pink of health â€“ certified ISO 9001:2008 in Quality Management Systems by the TUV-SUD in 2014 to boot â€“ the first hospital in Bohol to earn such certification.
In an interview with Aumentadoâ€™s consultant Antonieto Pernia, Dr. Mutya Kismet Tirol-Macuno, chief of hospital, revealed that from a measly 33% occupancy rate in 2010, the figure leaped to 162% for January to May 2015 or half the year not even over â€“ largely due to better services already available.
In terms of admissions, 2,870 patients were confined in 2010, jumped to 8.357 in 2014 and, for January to May 2015 alone, 4,304 â€“ already more than half of last yearâ€™s figures. Macuno said experience shows that usually, more patients are confined in the second semester than in the first. She expects her team of physicians and staff to treat even more patients by then.
PhilHealth member admissions have also increased. More non-members were admitted in 2011, but the figures steadily grew since 2012 and increasing up to the present.
This means more families are now PhilHealth members, thanks to the expansion of coverage implemented by the solonâ€™s namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor â€“ Erico Boyles Aumentado. And more member admissions means more hospital in come.
To note, Pernia observed that hospitals in Europe and the United States also survived and improved their services and facilities with health insurance programs after which PhilHealth is patterned.
But DEDVMH has an ace up its sleeve: after confinement, indigent PhilHealth members go home with zero balance billing.
This after Aumentado and Macuno agreed that balances after PhilHealth deductions shall be fully paid with funds the former tapped from the Department of Health (DOH) after the Supreme Court declared their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to be unconstitutional.
Under PhilHealthâ€™s Point-of-Care project initially implemented in national hospitals, non-members not listed in the National Housing Targeting System can be enrolled with funds Aumentado has tapped from DOH.
This spelled a growth in professional fees shared from PhilHealth reimbursement of from just P1 million in 2011 to P10.39 million in January to June 2015 alone. Part of this hospital income, it was learned, goes to employee benefits. The take in 2011 stood at P3,000 per employee. This year, the share is expected to be P15,000 per employee a month on top of their salaries.
Meanwhile, the no balance assistance is not confined to 2nd District residents either. Records show that even 3rd District residents availed of the same, indicating that patients no longer insist in being admitted to hospitals in Tagbilaran City because one such capable hospital is nearby.
The improved services have a downside â€“ congestion. The hospital is now requesting for an additional 200 beds to accommodate more patients.
Macuno however takes this as a sign of progress. She has even ordered more modern hospital equipment/machines so that they can already serve patients referred to DEDVMH by smaller hospitals in the province. (By June S. Blanco)