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Pag hindi tama ang serbisyo ng treatment hub, magreklamo, magsumbong… o alis na diyan

May mga yumayaman sa HIV “advocacy”. And this is maddening because this often comes at the expense of PLHIVs themselves. So we say, enough. It’s time to start calling out those who profit off other people’s misery.

Photo by RDNE Stock projectfrom Pexels.com

Para sa mga may HIV sa Pilipinas, for people living with HIV in the Philippines, a big chunk of your treatment is (supposed to be) covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) Outpatient HIV/AIDS Treatment (OHAT) Package. For those who do not know: for those enrolled in PhilHealth, P30,000 is allocated per person living with HIV (PLHIV) per year, or P7,500 every quarter.

The amount could increase since – even if PhilHealth is financially healthy – the government increased the contributions anyway. Meaning: may perang nakalaan galing sa PhilHealth para sa mga taong may HIV; umaabot ito ng P30,000 bawat taon, o P7,500 bawat tatlong buwan (at maaaring tumaas pa ang halagang ito).

PhilHealth actually has a 2015 circular that clearly states the “covered items”, or those that should be given by treatment hubs/facilities. As stated, “covered items under this benefit are drugs and medications, laboratory examinations based on the specific treatment guideline including Cluster of Differentiation 4 (CD4) level determination test, viral load (if warranted), and test for monitoring anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs toxicity and professional fees of providers.”

To qualify what’s written in that circular, PhilHealth’s Medical Specialist III and Millennium Development Goals Benefit Products Team Head Dr. Mary Antoinette Remonte earlier said to Outrage Magazine that “some treatment hubs take what was written in the circular literally.”

Sabi pa ni Remonte: If a PLHIV needs “viral load, if it’s really needed, they can still charge it on the OHAT package. Any laboratory tests related to ART treatment, they can use the OHAT Package for it… Even if viral load testing was not written in the first circular, it was already included in the coverage.”

Sadly, some of the hubs only “offer” what’s written in the circular, and yet will charge PhilHealth for the full amount even if PLHIVs do not get the services. At dito pumapasok ang pagnanakaw ng salapi na dapat sana ay napupunta sa PLHIV – i.e. ang PhilHealth ay dapat nag-co-cover ng tests, et cetera na kailangan ng isang taong may HIV subalit hindi binibigay ang mga ito kahit na ang buong amount ng salapi na para dito ay kinokolekta pa rin ng ibang hubs/facilities.

Sa mga may HIV na bahagi ng hubs sa Pilipinas, eto ang iilan sa mga tanong na dapat ninyong sagutin:

  1. Pinagbayad ka ba para sa baseline tests mo?
  2. Sa hub mo ngayon, naipa-CD4 count ka na ba?
  3. Nakapa-viral load test ka na ba?
  4. Kung walang equipment, facility, et cetera ang hub mo para sa ibang tests, pinapakuha ba nila ito sa iyo sa ‘labas’, at ikaw ba ang nagbabayad sa mga tests na ito?
  5. Alam mo ba kung saan nagagamit ang P7,500 per three months, o P30,000 per year?

Supposedly, PhilHealth should be “monitoring the disparities among the services offered by treatment hubs, particularly on whether they are putting into effect what were stated in the circulars that were released.” But this “monitoring” is but a dream; asa ka pa.

What can you do? Ano ang mga puwede mong gawin?

  1. Sa PLHIV, mag-demand ng serbisyong dapat ay binibigay sa iyo. Oo, puwede kang magtaray sa mga nasa treatment hubs/facilities kung dapat talaga silang tarayan. Need mo man sila, but they also need you dahil nga bayad ka.
  2. Kung hindi nila kayang ibigay ang serbisyo, magtanong kung ano ang breakdown ng pag-gamit ng OHAT Package mo. Karapatan mo yan. At paraan na rin para magkaalaman na kung sino-sino ang mga nakikinabang sa PhilHealth na ito.
  3. Kumuha ng mga ebidensiya – e.g. ang bill na naglalaman ng breakdown ng OHAT Package mo, mga resibo ng binayaran mong additional tests na dapat sana ay pasok sa OHAT Package mo, mga pambabastos na naranasan sa treatment hub, atbp.
  4. Magreklamo. Sa DOH (na ewan kung kikilos). Sa PNAC (na ewan din kung kikilos). Sa PhilHealth (isa pa, ewan kung kikilos). Sa boss ng mga nagtatrabaho sa treatment hub mo (na maaaring pagtatakpan lang din ang gawain ng staff nila). Sa social media. Sa media (including kami: email details to editor@outragemag.com so we can report on these). The goal here is: Ilabas na ang mga baho. Tama na ang oportunismong nagaganap.
  5. Lumipat ng treatment hub; pumunta sa magbibigay ng serbisyong kailangan mo nang hindi ka pinagkikitaan (ng todo).
  6. Isama o i-encourage lahat ng mga kilala mo na inabuso rin ng treatment hub na di ka pinagsilbihan. Sabay-sabay na umalis at huwag bigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga oportunistang ito na kamkamin ang pera na dapat ay para sa PLHIV.

May mga yumayaman sa HIV “advocacy”. And this is maddening because this often comes at the expense of PLHIVs themselves. Kaya tama na. Panahon na for us to start calling out those who profit off other people’s misery.

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).

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