Zamboanga Sibugay hospital’s ‘No Balance Billing’ reiterated sans politics

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ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines

To “enlighten the public” amid the misinformation and disinformation, the management of Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital has clarified on Thursday, April 28, several issues including the standing No Balance Billing (NBB) policy.

In a statement posted on its social media page, the hospital management said “the hospital strictly adheres to implement the ‘No Balance Billing (NBB) Policy (WALAY BAYAD) as required by PHILHEALTH.”

This policy, the statement explained, is applicable to all patients who comply the “necessary requirements mandated by law.”

The clarification came after series of social media posts alleging that patients who have “no PHC cards” cannot avail the hospital services for free. PHC is the shorthand for Palma Health Care card issued to all political supporters of Gov. Wilter Palma.

The management cited several conditions when NBB is not applicable, such as:

  • The patient’s stay in the hospital is less than 24 hours
  • The patient is re-admitted of the same disease within three months
  • The PHILHEALTH requirement such as Birth Certificate or Marriage Contract is not complied.

To answer the question if the hospital asks for deposit, the management said, “ZSPH being a government hospital strictly implements Republic Act No. 10932” or an Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.

“We never ask any deposit to our patients prior to treatment,” the statement said.

Hospital chief clarifies

The Sun Monitor sent a message to Dr. Sherwin Bastero, chief of the hospital, asking if the NBB policy applies even if the patient does not have a PHC card.

Bastero, in his reply, said: “All NBB patients will be given the privilege of no out-of-pocket expenditure.”

This means, he added, the patient’s hospitalization “entails no cost.”

He also reiterated the requirements according to PhilHealth NBB Guideline. These requirements include the following: PhilHealth Membership Card, certificate of indigency, birth certificate (for pedia patients), and marriage certificate (for OB-GYN cases).

“There is no mention of the PHC card as a requirement,” he stressed.

Non-PhilHealth members

For non-PhilHealth members, Bastero said “they are automatically enrolled as PhilHealth members through our point of service.”

The chief of hospital, however, pointed out the “reality that our patients have excess bills” since there are cases where PhilHealth will only pay a certain amount for diseases leaving excess bills.

“These patients with excess bills are referred to our social service for medical assistance,” he explained.

And the excess bills of all NBB patients, he added, will be paid through the medical assistance for indigent patients with or without PHC card.

He assured the people that “ZSPH is non-partisan and we remain as is.” (Antonio Manaytay/ The Sun Monitor)

This story is supported by Internews under the Internews Philippines Story Grants 2022.

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