BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The implementation of Universal Health Care Act in Negros Occidental is being eyed by 2024, disclosed Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday.
Hopefully by then, the budget will be downloaded into the province and it will be our obligation to liquidate, Lacson said at the Universal Health Care summit held at the Ayala Malls Capitol Central in Bacolod City.
Dr. Renato Limsiaco, Senior Vice President, Special assignment on UHC Administration of PhilHealth Insurance Corp. said that if Negros Occidental has to enroll its entire population of 2.6 million in primary health care alone, it will involve billions of pesos in funding, on top of hospital reimbursements of PhilHealth.
Negros Occidental currently has 19 health care facilities, with six others applying for accreditation, Limsiaco said.
In order to avail of UHC funds, Limsiaco said that Negros Occidental provincial government and the 31 LGUs have to set up the Integrated Local Health System and come up with a management integration system.
Lacson admitted that Negros Occidental is still “very far off” from the ideal situation under the UHC act.
Right now, we have the whole 2023 to do our assignment, in order to enjoy the benefits of the UHC act, the governor said.
If there will be zero billing in primary health care and hospitalization, Lacson raised the possibility of de-establishing the Negros Occidental Health Care Program.
But in the meantime, NOCHP is still very helpful to our constituents, he added.
While we tried to manage the health crisis brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic and adopted all necessary measures, as allowed by circumstances, to meet the novel and exacting demands of health care, Lacson, in his speech, said there is no time more fitting to robustly implement the UHC act and adopt the needed reforms than now.
Health Undersecretary Beverly Lorraine Ho, one of the health summit speakers, also gave an overview and update in the implementation of UHC, while Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang shared an update in the implementation of UHC in the province.
Participants of the summit, including some mayors led by Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, chair of the Association of Chief Executives Negros Occidental, signed a pledge of commitment to engage and support the implementation of UHC act with all its intent and purposes to provide good governance and financial risk protection, thereby, “improving health outcomes of our constituents.”*