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House approves bill giving free dialysis treatment to indigent patients

The House of Representatives has unanimously approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to provide free dialysis treatment for indigent patients.

With 177 votes in the affirmative, the chamber on Monday afternoon approved House Bill 9156, which seeks to provide a comprehensive renal replacement therapy (RRT) for patients with end stage renal disease in national, regional and provincial government hospitals.

It also aims to increase the PhilHealth package rate for RRT for its members.

Under the measure, qualified indigent patients will be covered by a "No Balance Billing Policy."

It also requires RRT facilities to engage in regular organ donation advocacy activities that will educate Filipinos to carry the organ donor card.

At the same time, the measure increases the PhilHealth Z-benefit package rates for peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis after kidney transplant procedures.

Nephrologists, dialysis nurses, dialysis technicians and operating room nurses in both peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis will be required to undergo training.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office is likewise mandated to provide the remaining needed sessions for both peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis after the patient has already used up his or her benefit package from the PhilHealth.

Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate, one of the principal authors of the measure, welcomed the final approval of the bill.

"We believe that the passing of House Bill 9156 acknowledges two things: one, that health is something that the ordinary Filipino could not afford, and two, that the government is scrimping on health budget despite the desperate need of our people," he said in a statement.

"We call on the immediate passage of the Senate counterpart of this bill so that it may be made into law the soonest time possible, because the government should decisively act on the worsening renal diseases in the country, exacerbated by worsening poverty," he added. —KG, GMA News