Patients plea for double dialysis treatment support

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Sunday, August 3, 2014


HOPE springs eternal, even for the growing number of kidney failure patients desperately seeking fund support to maintain their costly twice- or thrice-a-week hemodialysis treatment that they must undergo for life.

Their hope is now anchored on their urgent request, coursed through City Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Baguio Rep. Nicasio Aliping, for PhilHealth, the government medical insurance system, to make good its plan to double its hemodialysis treatment support to each member-patient from 45 to 90 sessions a year.

Aliping recently submitted the plea, a resolution signed by over 100 patients and members of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Dialysis Patients and Partners Association, to the office of PhilHealth president Alexander Padilla.

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"We are fully aware of the compelling need for the grant of greater medical support for hemodialysis patients whose number is constantly on the rise, especially here in Baguio, the medical center of Northern Luzon where those suffering from kidney failure and other serious illnesses coming from the Cordillera and neighboring regions flock for treatment and deliverance," Aliping said in his letter to Padilla.

Also attached to the resolution was the endorsement of Mayor Domogan and a resolution of the city council pressing for the doubling of the dialysis sessions PhilHealth members suffering from kidney failure are entitled.

In a letter to Padilla, Domogan said, "As pointed out in our dialogue during the inauguration of the new PhilHealth Office here in Baguio (last June), the number of hemodialysis patients is increasing, giving rise also to the number of families who have to continuously cope with the stress – financial and otherwise."

The city council, through a resolution co-authored by councilors Peter Fianza, Joel Alangsab and Fred Bagbagen, likewise called for doubling the dialysis treatment sessions under PhilHealth's care to 90 sessions a year.

The city officials noted that the 45 sessions-per-year PhilHealth support falls miserably short of the 156 sessions for those needing three times a week treatment have to undergo and 52 treatments short for those with a twice-a-week schedule.

In a press conference at the inauguration of the new PhilHealth office here, Padilla confirmed there were plans to up the treatment sessions for dialysis patients, adding that if so, they also have to pay higher dues.

"Additional dues won’t be a problem to us compared to our having to scrounge for funds to cover the deficit in the number of treatment sessions," noted Rev. Fr. Richard Justo, a patient and president of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Dialysis Patients and Partners Association which came up with the resolution-request.

As of latest count, the BGHMC serves 192 patients, up from the 170 recorded the other year. The patients come from various provinces of the Cordillera, Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley, as they are drawn to Baguio because of the lower cost of the treatment compared to the rates of medical facilities in the lowlands.

Only last June, Domogan ordered the inclusion of a city-managed fun run dubbed "Straight into Baguio's Heart" in the city's 105th charter anniversary activities to build a support fund for dialysis patients being served by renal centers here and in Benguet.

"The run will give a humanitarian dimension to the city's observance of its founding," the mayor said as he rallied individuals and groups to contribute to the fund drive.

Corporate and individual donors can coursed their support through Banco de Oro account number 000940248018 opened at BDO Baguio-Legarda Branch, which will be administered by jointly by the BGHMCDPPA under guidance of the city through city social welfare and development officer Betty Fangasan.

The mayor noted that the fund will not be exclusively for patients undergoing hemodialysis at the BGHMC but will include others being served by other dialysis centers in the city and in Benguet.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 04, 2014.

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