MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros will once again push in the 19th Congress the filing of the “Free Dialysis for Senior Citizens Act.”
The measure aims to mandate the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to continue providing free treatment for senior citizens who are undergoing dialysis.
In the last few years, the Senator has continuously asked PhilHealth to continue the 144-day dialysis coverage for all patients while the country remains in a state of emergency due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
PhilHealth had increased the number of subsidized dialysis sessions from 90 to 144 but was only effective until December 2020.
According to Hontiveros, most senior citizens are relying on pensions with no other source of income, stressing that seniors are the “most vulnerable” among those with Chronic Kidney Disease.
“Ramdam pa rin natin ang epekto ng pandemya. Ngayon ay may mga panibagong pasanin pa ang ating ekonomiya dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina, kaya kailangan nating patuloy na alalayan sila.”SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS
(We still feel the effects of the pandemic. Now, we have new issues in our economy due to the increase in oil prices, that’s why we should continue helping them.)
Hontiveros further explained that patient who undergoes dialysis needs a total of 156 sessions for an entire year of treatment, which costs around P12,000 weekly without subsidy.
“Since then, we’ve been calling on PhilHealth to continue the free dialysis service. Every year, senior citizens would keep asking us if the free dialysis sessions would continue,”
“Kaya sa tingin ko ay dapat nang gawing batas ito para mabigyan ng kapanatagan ang mga lolo at lola nating umaasa rito. This isn’t just any privilege. It’s literally their lifeline. Dapat automatic na yung pagiging libre ng kanilang dialysis sessions.”SENATOR RISA HONTIVEROS
(That’s why I think that we should institutionalize this bill to give comfort to our elders who depend on this. This isn’t just any privilege. It’s literally their lifeline. Free dialysis should be automatic.)
Hontiveros also called on the Department of Health (DOH) to focus on disease prevention awareness by intensifying its campaign for health promotion, including the early detection of possible renal problems in senior citizens and children.