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NKTI proposes lifetime support for dialysis patients

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) on Wednesday pushed forward a proposal to provide lifetime support for hemodialysis patients, Tina Panganiban-Perez and Oscar Oida reported on “24 Oras”.

In a hearing by the House Committee on Health, the NKTI proposed that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) cover the cost and assistance extended to kidney patients.

“We strongly recommend that PhilHealth will support dialysis for life then the cost of immunosuppression should also be provided for life,” said Dr. Romina Danguilan, NKTI Adult Nephrology Department chairperson.

While PhilHealth backed the proposal, the agency raised its concern over the lack of facilities for patients undergoing dialysis in the country.

This prompted legislators to file a measure mandating all national, regional, and provincial government hospitals to establish their own dialysis service facilities in five years' time.

The Department of Health (DOH) expressed support for the legislation but said small hospitals might bear the brunt of its implementation. The proposal will cost them P26 million to set up a dialysis center and P8 million for its annual maintenance.

For its part, the Budget Department said it will study the proposal.

A bill empowering President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to suspend the implementation of PhilHealth premium increase in times of national emergencies or calamities is likewise discussed by the House Panel.

Meanwhile, the state-run insurer expressed confidence they can extend assistance to kidney patients even though the increase in premium contributions will be suspended.

“Kailangan mga  P200 billion cash that would be good for around two years and clearly with our cash position now sa PhilHealth it's almost double that amount,” said PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Ledesma.  -- Sundy Locus/BAP, GMA Integrated News