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The PhilHealth mission

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

No wonder Thailand is such a popular tourist destination. I think it is the first, or one of the first countries to announce that they welcome tourists – so long as they show evidence that they are fully vaccinated. I guess that means they have gone through the required number of “shots” to assure that they are “safe” and no longer carriers of the dreaded virus that was the “gift” some adventurers have spread worldwide after an expedition to the place called Wuhan, where it was first discovered.

***

Now we should be thankful to all the medical scientists who persevered in finding a means to call a halt to the surging virus virtually to all parts of the world. But it is quite a problem to hear that some people are still hesitant to undergo vaccination, when it is now available in almost all towns, cities and provinces. I hope such people recall that so many other killer ailments have been conquered by the simple procedure of vaccination, which is now available in, I understand, practically all cities, towns and even barangays in our country.

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What a relief it was to hear that the use of face shields has been advised only for crowded places, or in areas where one cannot avoid close contacts. Of course dread of contamination was a great incentive for wearing whatever coverings or gadgets are being advised by medical authorities to make sure that we do not get exposed to this virus from any casual encounter with affected ones. I heard that some facilities even require their members to wear masks at home. That sounds like an overkill, but if it can assure protection for your loved ones, go for it!

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But what is this furor going around about PhilHealth not attending to its duties to hospitals where patients can avail of its coverage? I hope our President will call on the officials to do their duty to the hospitals affected, some of which may not be able to continue operating for lack of funds that should have come from PhilHealth. The last I heard about the issue is that hospitals will soon do their duties to PhilHealth, that has been adopted to ease the hospitalization problems of people who cannot afford to pay all their dues when hospitalized.

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Yesterday, I came upon an item announcing that the Palace, in other words, the President, has ordered PhilHealth to pay the hospitals. That is quite timely, but what if some of them will prefer to close when they can no longer put up with the expense of running them? That is one big problem our Health department has to act on at once, especially with this pandemic surging, not only in our country but in so many others. When media started referring to it as a “pandemic”, it means not only barangays, towns, cities and provinces affected but the whole world as well.

***

I just caught a news item stating that PhilHealth is going to pay the hospitals. Well, that is good to hear, especially because, like so many other countries – in fact, I don’t know one that COVID has not reached, so far. But, certainly, PhilHealth has been a boon, especially to the poor, although even well-to-do people also avail of this privilege. So let us hope that it does its duty, which is the purpose for which it was created, in the first place.

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I think Thailand is one country that is open only to vaccinated tourists, and who can blame it? Just one tourist, or even business traveler, arriving and mingling with the public can cause havoc to its citizens. I don’t know if our country has adopted such measures, but I would not blame our officials if they decide to adopt such measures, too. It is not just an epidemic, which is localized, but a pandemic that we are dealing with, and no measure is too extreme in the bid to protect our population.

***

Meanwhile, I caught a late announcement saying that the Palace, alias President Duterte, has ordered PhilHealth to pay the hospitals. Indeed, the agency must be paid so it can continue helping, especially those who have no means to pay even for their medicines when they are hospitalized. Especially with the COVID virus still actively spreading, more people need hospitalization. I hope PhilHealth will take the cue and live by the reason why it was created.*

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