As P17 billion in Philhealth dialysis claims payments seen this year, a member of the House Committee on Appropriations on Thursday announced the launching of a public-private partnership project (PPP) to assure patients ready access to free, state-of-the-art dialysis treatment.

Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo said a PPP was launched amid a chronic kidney disease (CKD) epidemic sweeping the country.

“We are absolutely determined to improve the quality of life of CKD patients, and we want them to enjoy longer lives with their loved ones,” Rillo said.

“Our intention is to guarantee patients, especially from indigent and low-income families, absolutely free, zero cash out access to routine dialysis treatment,” Rillo said.

The state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) is projected to pay a record P17 billion in dialysis claims this year, with an estimated claims count of up to 3.6 million, according to Rillo.

In the whole of 2021, Philhealth spent P14 billion to cover 2.9 million dialysis claims, up 11.4 percent from the P12.6 billion spent for 2.7 million claims in 2020.

Dialysis claims payments accounted for 15.8 percent of the aggregate P88.3 billion spent by Philhealth in 2021 for all covered illnesses, treatments, and procedures.

Through the efforts of Rep. Rillo and Councilor Imee Rillo, barangays U.P. Campus and Doña Imelda have forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Passion Healthcare Philippines Inc. to implement the project dubbed Dialysis Centers Para Sa Bayan.

“We find it unacceptable that many poor Filipinos living with CKD are dying early simply because to their inability to pay for costly dialysis treatment,” Rillo said.

The MOA signed on Thursday provides for the construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of modern and duly licensed dialysis centers where CKD patients can receive dialysis treatment at zero cost.

U.P. Campus barangay chairperson Zenaida Lectura, Doña Imelda barangay chairperson Fernand Ubaldo, and Passion president Eric Olay signed the MOA. Rillo and Director Gloria Balboa of the Department of Health’s Metro Manila Center for Health Development endorsed the agreement as witnesses.

Every day, at least 36 Filipinos develop CKD requiring lifelong dialysis treatment, and end-stage renal disease is now the 7th leading cause of death in the country, according to the state-run National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI).

In CKD, the kidneys are damaged and can no longer effectively clean the blood of toxins and drain excess body fluid.

The condition requires patients to undergo up to three dialysis treatments every week for the rest of their lives.

In dialysis, blood is pumped out of the body to an artificial kidney machine and returned to the body by tubes connecting the patient.

NOVEMBER 18, 2022