Misamis Oriental to implement ‘no balance billing’-A A +A
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
THE Provincial Government (PB) of Misamis Oriental will be implementing a “No Balance Billing” in all seven district hospitals in the province through the Global Budget Payment Program (GBPP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
The PB approved an ordinance authorizing Governor Oscar Moreno to forge an agreement between various pharmaceutical companies who are willing to supply the medicines and other medical needs for the seven hospitals through a consignment basis.
The GBPP aims to implement the “No balance billing” to all PhilHealth patients and their dependents when they are hospitalized at any of the seven district hospitals.
Moreno created a GBPP council that would look into the issue on lack of medicines, among other needs in hospitals.
For his part, Vice Governor Norris Babiera said the implementation of a “no balance billing” aims to help indigent residents of the province, especially those who cannot afford to pay their hospital bills.
Related to this, senatorial candidate Edgardo “Sonny” Angara of Team PNoy asks the government to save the “Botika ng Bayan.”
Angara said the government should save the state-owned Philippine International Trading Corporation Pharma Inc. (PPI) from folding up and abandoning its commitment to provide cheaper but quality medicines to the Filipino people, especially the poor, through the “Botika ng Bayan.”
He emphasized that small drug stores are more effective retailers of cheap medicines since their presence extends all the way to the barangay level nationwide compared to their giant counterparts.
The PPI has been implementing the “Half Priced Medicines Project,” which is part of the previous administration’s anti-poverty program.
The cost of medicines under this program is reduced to half their price, which is commonly bought by the poor. According to Angara, PPI’s huge losses in the past six years have threatened its financial viability thus the need to infuse more funds to resuscitate the firm and allow it to continue operation.
Commission on Audit (COA) 2011 report showed that PPI incurred losses of P260 million from 2006 to 2011, thus state auditors expressed doubts “on the viability of the corporation to continue its operation and perform its mandate.”
Angara said the government should also direct state financial institutions to agree to a loan restructuring scheme that would give the PPI more time and leeway to recover from past business failures.
Botika ng Bayan was launched in 2004 by PPI in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).
Qualified privately-operated drug retail outlets nationwide comprise the sales and distribution network for low priced, high quality medicines.
The Botika ng Bayan seal is the mark of guaranteed quality and affordable prices.
“The corporate objectives of PPI provides a strong reason to allow it to live But if government should breathe new life into this firm, it must infuse not only fresh capital but also the ‘Daang Matuwid’ strategy of good governance,” Angara said. (Annabelle L. Ricalde)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 26, 2013.