DOH 7 allocates additional P2B for delayed Health Emergency Allowance

DOH 7 allocates additional P2B for delayed Health Emergency Allowance
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THE regional health agency urged the eligible public and private healthcare workers for continued patience as it allocates additional P2 billion in funds for the delayed Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) in Central Visayas.

The Department of Health Central Visayas (DOH 7) issued this statement on Friday, April 26, 2024, amid health workers' concerns about their delayed allowance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We urge all stakeholders to await updates from their respective focal persons, adhering to our communication protocol, to allow our processing team time to address other crucial tasks," a portion of the statement read.

This accompanies the allocation of P2,015,896,062.50 from DOH central office to cover the period from July 1, 2021, to July 20, 2023, as per DOH Department Order 2024-0063.

The department said it is currently underway with the disbursement process for this latest fund sub-allotment through sub-allotment advice (SAA) 2024-02-000966, identifying the first 154 facilities as recipients who have submitted complete documentary requirements.

The DOH 7 said these facilities have been notified of the processing of their claims, with funds expected to be transferred by the end of May.

Despite progress made, the health agency emphasized the need for patience and understanding among stakeholders, particularly healthcare workers awaiting payment.

They added that with meticulous validation processes in place, including the examination of Covid-19 Risk Exposure Classification (CREC) reports, stakeholders must adhere to the communication protocol to facilitate efficient processing.

Still waiting

According to a SunStar report dated April 14, the United Private Hospital Unions of the Philippines (Uphup) reported that over 80,000 healthcare workers from several private hospitals are awaiting HEA.

Ronald Ignacio, Uphup spokesman, said the DOH 7 owes them 12 to 20 months' worth of allowance.

Under the law

The amount healthcare workers receive varies depending on the risk level of their employment.

Based on the guidelines, a health worker is entitled to P3,000 for low-risk areas; P6,000 for medium-risk areas; and P9,000 for high-risk areas.

Republic Act 11712, known as the Public Health Emergency Benefits and Allowances for Health Care Workers Act of 2022, ensures that health workers receive the Health Emergency Allowance (HEA) for each month they serve during a state of public health emergency.

Since March 2020, the Philippines has been under the said public health emergency, implementing lockdown measures against the virus.

In July 2023, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Proclamation 29, lifting the state of public health emergency throughout the country.

Distributed

DOH 7 said that since implementing HEA, formerly known as One Covid Allowance, they received and validated 7,178 monthly claims amounting to P6,174,441,718.75 from 271 eligible facilities in the region.

Additionally, the DOH 7 said that as of April 1, P3,698,532,656.25, or 60 percent of the amount, has been allocated to cover the payment of 4,895 claims for the specified period, inclusive of the latest fund sub-allotment.

The remaining or unpaid claims amount to P2,475,909,062.50, covering 2,283 monthly claims from 129 facilities, including all recently approved claims submitted before the February 29 deadline.

On April 16, the Department of Budget and Management in a statement sent to SunStar Cebu called on DOH to address the bottlenecks in the release of the unpaid money allowance claims of healthcare workers.

Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman noted that her office had released around P91.283 billion to the DOH for the disbursement of health workers' benefits and allowances. (KJF)

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