Lolypop files bill requiring gov’t hospitals to provide free dialysis services to indigents

MANDAUE Lone District Rep. Emmarie “Lolypop” Ouano-Dizon has filed a bill requiring all government hospitals to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis ward and provide free dialysis treatment to indigent patients.In a statement she sent to SunStar Cebu on Thursday, July 28, 2022, Ouano-Dizon filed House Bill 2373 in compliance with one of the priorities of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. during his first State of the Nation Address.Dizon, who filed the bill during the first regular session of the 19th Congress on Tuesday, July 26, said her legislation, if it becomes a law, would benefit a lot of Filipinos especially those suffering from chronic kidney disease.Leading causes of deathAccording to Dizon, chronic kidney disease is one of the primary causes of death among Filipinos and that kidney failure is the ninth leading cause of death in the country, emphasizing that an increase of about 10 to 20 percent of new patients undergoing dialysis in 2018 has been noted by some experts following a study made.“The optimum frequency of dialysis treatment is three times a week. But some Filipino patients would settle with once or twice a week because of its high cost and inaccessibility. Some patients die without even the chance to undergo the treatment because they could not afford it,” Dizon said in her bill’s explanatory note.Once the bill becomes a law, all government hospitals in national, regional and provincial levels are given two years from the law’s effectiveness to establish, operate and maintain a dialysis service facility and provide it for free to indigent patients.Agencies such as PhilHealth, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Health (DOH) must come up with schemes to maximize the application and use of their existing assistance programs in conjunction with the “Malasakit Program” to achieve a zero balance billing for this particular service.PenaltiesHeads or chiefs of hospital, administrator, and health facilities operating these dialysis centers who fail to comply with this proposed law face a fine of P50,000 up to P100,000.Funding for these facilities, once approved, shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act and the DOH secretary shall promulgate the rules and regulations concerning the implementation of provisions of the proposed law.