SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao— In 2017, poor Filipinos need not worry about their hospital and medicine bills –these will be free,  Health Department chief said Saturday.  
“There’s no need to hold any card of PhilHealth, just prove to us you are a Filipino, you are entitled to be covered by health benefits, the PhilHealth will take care of the hospital billings and other concerns,” Health secretary Paulyn Jean Rossel-Ubial said Saturday during her visit to the  Integrated Provincial Hospital Office (IPHO) in Maguindanao.

She said this after an increase of the funds being given by the Budget department to cover the hospital needs of the poor and needy Filipinos.

The Health Department, according to her, is now in good financial standing after the Budget Department paid last November the arrears of 32 Billion from the 42 Billion deficits of PhilHealth.

“This the is first time in [DOH] history ... President Duterte has exerted all efforts and expect changes in the next days ... poor patients will leave hospitals with no billings balance,” Ubial added.

Also she mentioned additional subsidies for free medicines from government agencies, including the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Moreover, she said that next year there will be no more buying of medicines in government pharmacies because every poor family can get it free from the government health program.
Ubial said she got assurance from President Rodrigo Duterte who she quoted as telling her, “Just take care of the poor, I'll take care where to find the money.”

The Health chief visited Maguindanao on Saturday to grace the inauguration of the first ever CT Scan machine for the Integrated Provincial Health Office  (IPHO)-Maguindanao. —LBG, GMA News


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