By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA -- The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), through its Charity Assistance Department (CAD), has spent PHP797.6 million for the Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) in February.In a statement Wednesday, PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said the PCSO head office alone released PHP450.1 million for 13,299 cases while, the branch offices released PHP347.5 million for 28,272 cases.
As for the branch offices, it rose by 30.89 percent from PHP265.5 million to PHP347.5 million, serving from 21,833 cases to 28,201 cases this year.
Balutan reported that of all the cases received at the head office, hospitalization or confinement had the highest amount spent in February at PHP185.7 million for 4,766 cases, followed by chemotherapy at PHP129.5 million for 2,784 cases, and requests for medicines at PHP55.5 million for 3,140 cases.
As for the branch offices, hospitalization also had the highest amount spent at PHP173.23 million for 12,216 cases, followed by requests for medicines at PHP97.78 million with 9,460 cases, and laboratory/diagnostic procedures at PHP15.26 million with 2,688 cases.
At present, PCSO has 63 branches across the country with the opening of seven new branches last year in the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Catanduanes, Sultan Kudarat, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Davao del Norte, and Ifugao.
“Our target for year 2018 is to open eight new branches more. If we accomplish this, we only need to build 10 more in the coming years and before 2022, we would have established a branch in 81 provinces,” Balutan said.
While hospitalization is the most requested assistance, dialysis cases are very alarming in the branch offices. From one case last year, dialysis rose to 915 cases in February this year amounting to PHP7.18 million.
Meanwhile, no transplant request was reported in the branch offices in February as compared with the 12 transplant requests last year.
When it comes to requests per region, Region 3 has the most number of cases with 5,176 cases, followed by Region 4-A with 4,573 cases, and Region 6 with 2,976 cases.
The IMAP is a flagship program of PCSO under the CAD. It is designed to attend to the financial needs of all individuals with health-related problems through the provision of financial assistance.
PCSO issues a guarantee letter to the hospital or partner health facility, which assumes the obligation of a specific amount due from the client for the services rendered.
PCSO ASAP (At Source and Processing) Desks is a point of access to IMAP established through a partnership between the agency and hospitals that directly provide various health interventions to patients.
ASAP Desk is being manned by a hospital/health facility social worker employed but was trained by PCSO. The social worker evaluates, acknowledge the application, and do the profiling of patients to establish his/her socio-economic condition and classification.
Once the data has been established, the social worker emails them to PCSO. His/her job is only limited to appreciating the information he/she’s been given and determine the amount to release.
Once approved, it will be transmitted. The hospital will then credit the amount to the patient’s hospital bills or medicines.
However, the amount of assistance being approved depends on the social status of the applicant or patient classification based on PCSO classification. For example, if a patient belongs to Class A, he will only get 50 percent assistance based on net/case rate. If he belongs to Class F, he may get 100 percent.
This year, PCSO has allocated PHP3.6 billion for ASAP Desk. At present, there are 57 PCSO ASAP Desks in partner hospitals and facilities all over the country.
Apart from the IMAP, patients can also avail of the Endowment Fund from the hospital.
Endowment fund is a direct financial assistance being given to the hospital to help them address the financial obligations of patients admitted in the charity ward of that hospital.
The fund is based on the hospital’s classification, which is determined by the Department of Health. Level 3 hospitals have PHP5 million allocation, Level 2 gets PHP3 million, and Level 1 gets PHP1 million.
This fund, however, is limited to government hospitals only, both Department of Health retained and devolved hospitals of local government units.
The PCSO also denied claims that only relatives of hospital workers are being given priority and preference in the grant of endowment fund.
“Endowment fund, I doubt it! Kasi ang client base natin are indigent talaga (Our client base are indigents). There’s no way for them to take such approach or the idea that it will be limited because if you will visit almost all majority of our government hospitals, makikita mo talaga na ang mga nagpupunta doon eh mga indigent patients (we can see that those people were indigent patients),” said Dr. Larry Cedro, Assistant General Manager for Charity Sector.
Balutan assured the public that PCSO chooses no one whether you’re rich or poor.
“As long as you are Filipino. Even if you’re rich if you suffer catastrophic illnesses, your bank savings will be drained. PCSO will help you. You can even ask for more,” he stressed.
PCSO has now simplified the requirements for those seeking medical assistance. Applicants will only need to submit a medical abstract, statement of account, letter from the hospital, and personal letter from the applicant minus the social case study. (PNA)
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