Drilon urges DOH to speed up building health facilities in rural areas

THE Department of Health (DoH) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) hurdled reviews of their 2011 and 2012 budgets after reporting that the 3.1 million beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program are completely enrolled in Philhealth.

“I am generally pleased with the performance of the Department of Health led by Secretary Enrique Ona. I am also pleased with the performance of Philhealth,” said Senate Finance Committee chairman Franklin M. Drilon.

“We are also happy to note that all the beneficiaries of the CCT of the Department of Social Welfare and Development are enrolled in Philhealth. The national government is paying P200 per month in premium of the 3.1 million poorest families in the country as indentified in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction,” explained Drilon.

Moreover, Drilon lauded the high turnout of Philhealth benefit payout which reached around P35 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach P45 to P50 billion this year.

“What is important to note is that the benefit payments for 2011 is about P35 billion, for 2012 it will increase to anywhere from P45 to P50 billion. The 2011 and 2012 benefit payments turnout will show that the benefit payment is much higher than the premium payment. Hindi kagaya ng dati na mas mataas ang premium payment kaysa sa benefit payment. This is important because it means that benefits are being paid out rather than staying as reserve funds,” explained Drilon.

Drilon noted that Philhealth’s current reserve fund is P107 billion, which capacitates the agency to provide basic health service delivery especially to poor Filipinos.

However, Drilon said the government should continue improving access to health services in line with the CCT program where part of its criteria is for the recipients to get maternal and immunization services.

He said the health department should speed up the construction of health facilities and rural health units (RHUs, especially in areas where the poorest families are found, which is part of the social development plan of the government.

Citing a report from DoH, he said there are still about 300 municipalities where there are no accredited RHUs. He also hit the very low completion rate of DoH in terms of building and upgrading of the health facilities which is only 6 percent, with only 57 health facilities have been built and upgraded out of the 942 being targeted for 2012.

Meanwhile, Drilon said the budget of DoH will increase by 38 percent next year from P30.1 billion to P41.8 billion – both are net of the P12 billion budget of Philhealth for 2012 and 2013.


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