MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reiterated that coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing should be covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) based on its circular issued last April, which outlined the benefit package for the testing of the infectious disease.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire responded to complaints in Iloilo where testing was reported to be expensive for those who are paying for the test.
She noted that all Filipinos can avail of the benefit package pursuant to the Universal Health Care Law, which provides health care insurance coverage to all Filipinos under the National Health Insurance Program.
“‘Pag pumunta ho sila para magpa-test, hindi po sila dapat nagbabayad ng full amount ng test because PhilHealth should pay for that. Kung mayroon man pong minsan nasisingil ang ating mga ospital, it’s because of the other logistics na ginagamit katulad po ng PPE, katulad po ng iba pang mga gamit [If they decide to take the test, they should not pay for the full amount because PhilHealth should pay for that. If there are other expenses, that would be for other logistics like personal protective equipment),” she said during Wednesday’s Network Briefing News hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar.
Vergeire explained that despite the current turnaround time of results of 48-72 hours, some results may still be given later than expected based on the volume of tests that a receiving accredited laboratory is accommodating.
“Yun pong katagalan ng test sa paglabas, ito po ay depende sa bawat laboratoryo na pinagdadalhan natin nitong test. So tingnan lang po natin baka nagkakaroon lang ngayon po pagdami talaga ng tine-test kaya medyo nagtatagal [The turnaround of tests depends on the capacity of the laboratory where the samples are sent],” she said.
She also said test results should not be the sole basis for a suspected patient to be discharged or identified as recovered. She discussed that the sector is utilizing the “time-based” approach based on scientific studies.
“Kung ang isang tao po ay nagkaroon ng Covid, on the 10th day of his illness, basta wala na siyang sintomas, hindi na po siya infectious, yan po ang sinasabi [A Covid-19 patient is no longer infectious if he/she has no symptoms on the 10th day],” she said.
Vergeire said repeat tests are not required to allow a patient to be discharged from the hospital or quarantine facility.
“There are already many experiences pertaining to this all over the world,” she added. (PR)