Costly dialysis treatment often deprives indigent patients of thorough medical intervention for their ailments, indirectly making health a privilege instead rather than a right.
This prompted Third District Rep. Arthur Yap to pass House Bill 2466 seeking to make dialysis treatment free for indigent patients.
â€œConfounding the problem is the fact that sophisticated and advanced hospital and medical equipment and facilities are found mostly in highly urbanized cities, so much so that patients from the rural areas have to travel all the way to these urban cities just to avail themselves of the needed treatment, according to Yap.
House Bill 2466 also seeks to mandate all government hospitals (national, regional and provincial) to put up dialysis wards for indigent patients and have the procedure free of charge.
If it passes muster in Congress, it shall be called theÂ â€œDialysis Center Act of 2016â€.
Under the proposed law, â€œdialysis treatment in all national, regional and provincial government hospitals shall be provided free of charge to indigent patientsâ€.
â€œIn consonance with the governmentâ€™s mandate to provide Filipinos with comprehensive health services, local government units must be activated to provide for the necessary facilities to make available and affordable the medical treatments much needed by the people particularly in the far-flung areas of the country,â€ Yap pointed out.
Yap explained that â€œunder the proposed measure, a patient whose annual family income does not exceed P30,000 will qualify under the category of indigent patient and be entitled to dialysis at no costâ€.
He said the proposed measure also takes into account the high cost of travel that put many patients especially in the rural areas at a disadvantage.
â€œWhen both kidneys fail due to various reasons- -usually diabetes, inflammation of the kidney and high blood pressure- -the struggle to stay alive hinges either on a kidney transplant or continuous dialysis treatments. A transplant can cost around P500,000 to a million pesos, while dialysis treatments costs P3,500 on the average per session,â€ according to Yap.
He also cited feedback from patients on dialysis who usually get two to three treatments a week which will cost them about P28,000 to P42,000 per month.
â€œThose numbers are undeniably very costly and unaffordable by most Filipinos, which explains why renal disease is one of the top 10 causes of death in the Philippines. Stories of kidney patients begging around for funds from legislators and charitable institutions to pay for their dialysis treatments are, sadly, just too familiar,â€ Yap said.
Yap included a proposed provision declaring it a â€œpolicy of the State to improve the delivery of health care services to the people and to ensure hospital facilities are available, affordable and accessible to the peopleâ€.
It also includes a proposed provision on Establishment, Operation and Maintenance of a Dialysis Ward or Unit where within two years from its effectivity- -if it becomes a law- -all national, regional, and provincial government hospitals are required to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis ward or unit in their hospitals. The dialysis ward or unit shall be equipped with complete dialysis machine, equipment and supplies.
The proposed penalty shall be a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 for any hospital chief, administrator or officer-in-charge who fails to comply.
Yap also included in House Bill 2466, the allocation of funds for its continuous implementation which shall be included in the government hospitalâ€™s annual appropriations.
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