Dengue Hospital Costs Covered by PhilHealth

We received good news since my spouse was admitted to our local healthcare facility in the Philippines. She was on the road to recovery and was discharged from the Guimaras Provincial Hospital this past Friday after a battle with dengue fever and pneumonia

Dr. Catalino Gallego Nava Provincial Hospital

Now for you Guimarasnons out there, you probably already know the official name of this facility has been changed to the following: Dr. Catalino Gallego Nava Provincial Hospital.

Dr. Nava  was elected governor of Guimaras in 1988 when it was still a sub-province of nearby Iloilo. One of the late Nava’s sons, Dr. Rahman Nava, became a Governor and later a Congressman. His brother, Dr. Felipe Nava, also served as Governor.

But I just refer to the establishment as the Guimaras Provincial Hospital because it is easier for me to do so.

White Blood Platelet Count Now Normal

During my wife’s stay this past Thursday, her white blood platelet count, alarmingly low on Wednesday night when she was admitted to the health care facility, had vastly improved.  I was prepared to see if we could get my spouse discharged the next day, Friday. Neither of us wanted to spend another night at the hospital, crammed in with two other patients and their relatives and exposed to open windows with no screens which would allow mosquitoes to enter without going through security.

After all, my asawa did have dengue,  a flu-like viral disease,  spread by the bite of an Aedes infected mosquito.

While I commend the staff at the Guimaras Provincial Hospital, for their diligence and care of my wife, the facilities, despite an ongoing remodeling project, still leaves much to be desired. The sooner we could get out, I reasoned, and return home, the better.

Asking the Doctor to Let My People Go

Around 8:30 am, Friday morning, a doctor entered our room, the Infectious Female Ward. This was a different physician who had advised us that my wife could be discharged if her white blood platelet count improved.

My poor asawa had already endured more pricks (to her fingers for blood tests) than a meeting of Congress. I was hopeful the doc would let us go.

The physician agreed that my wife’s prognosis had improved but she said it was standard hospital policy to keep someone in the hospital for dengue at least 48 hours. We were short about a half-day of that requirement but I asked that my wife be discharged anyway.

The doctor agreed but warned that we should bring my spouse back immediately if her condition worsened again. I assured the care giver that I would strictly monitor my wife’s condition.the unhappy kano at the guimaras hospital

The Discharge Paperwork Process

A few hours later one of the nursing staff brought in the necessary discharge papers. Now all I needed to do was collect the necessary signatures from the various departments: pharmacy, laboratory, central supply, etc., to make sure all charges had been paid up to date.

After I collected the necessary signature from pharmacy, one of the hospital’s nurses, a relative of my spouse, accompanied me to obtain the other signatures needed.

My last stop, or so I thought, would be the Cashier’s Office, to settle our final bill.

The ladies at the Cashier’s Office directed me to the next window, the Billing Section. I stepped over to my left two paces.

The two young Filipinas behind the window asked me if I had my “MDR.”

“MDR?” I asked. “What’s that?

They held up a piece of paper which read: “Member Data Record.”

“Where do I get that from, please?” I inquired.

“The PhilHealth Office, sir.” came the reply from one of the ladies.

“And where is that, please?” I asked.

“In back of the gymnasium, sir,” was my answer.

OK, I knew where the gymnasium was. It was located nearby behind the capital building.  I trotted over to the office.

(PhilHealth is a national health insurance program available to Filipinos and their spouses.)outpatient entrance guimaras provincial hospital

The PhilHealth Adventure

I entered the office and handed the PhilHealth employee my wife’s PhilHealth card and cooled down for a minute in the air con. None of the hospital, save for a few offices, had air con.

In less than two minutes, I had our MDR, Member Data Record. Now I was instructed to take the MDR to the PhilHealth Records Section located next to the canteen. I now needed a CFI.

I almost panicked when I saw a crowd of around 100 or so people hovering around the Records Section. I poked my head inside what I thought was the correct building but it turned out I was inside the Outpatient Waiting Area which had been moved since I had visited the hospital two years ago, suffering from a kidney stone attack.

Fortunately, the PhilHealth window was located just outside the building with no one in line.

I approached the two ladies working the window and handed them my MDR and informed them I was trying to get my wife discharged from the hospital and needed a “CFI.”

“CF1, sir, a claim form,” Employee #1  informed me.

Employee #2 checked out my MDR and asked me if I had my receipt.

“Receipt for what?” I inquired. “Receipt for the medications we paid for?” 

“No, sir, your receipt for your PhilHealth payments for July, August and September.” was the reply.

“But we paid for a two-year membership back at the PhilHealth Office in Iloilo. Do you want me to go back home and get that receipt?” I asked.

Again, the same request: “Sir, I need your receipt for your PhilHealth payments for July, August and September.”

Not to be outdone,  I repeated myself: Again,  we paid for a two-year membership back at the PhilHealth Office in Iloilo. Can’t you check that out on your computer?”

“We do not have internet, sir,” came the reply from Employee #1.

“Really?” I asked incredulously and in my best sarcastic tone. “This is 2015 and you’re a business operating WITHOUT the internet?”

Employee #1 and Employee #2 both stopped and looked at each other.

“We have it sometimes, sir,” replied Employee #1, “let me check.”

“Who do you have for your internet provider?” I asked. “Smart or Globe?”

Both ladies smiled.

“For awhile, sir,” said Employee #2. Which, when translated,  can mean up to several hours or days in the Philippines.

I looked at a blank CF1, Claim Form, given to me and began going over the questions in my mind. Before I could finish perusing the document, I thought to ask: “If my wife didn’t have valid PhilHealth coverage, why did I receive a Members Document Record from them?”

“It’s OK, sir,” answered Employee #2, “we looked up your records on the internet.”

I was handed a document from Employee #2 who informed me that with this paper I would not even need to complete the claim form. More icing on the cake.

I was then informed to have my wife sign the form and then return it to the billing section to have it coded. I thanked the ladies and took off.Outpatient nursing staff at Guimaras Provincial Hospital

The Journey Nears an End

I popped back into my wife’s hospital room to get her signature and explained what had just occurred at PhilHealth. I told her I would be back…hopefully, soon.

I returned the PhilHealth form to the billing section. The document was soon given the proper code. I was instructed to return the form back to the PhilHealth window and come back to billing.

I went back to the PhilHealth window and was promptly given the proper code. I went back to the billing department and they signed off on my wife’s discharge paper and declared we owed absolutely NOTHING.

  • No charge for the room
  • No charge for the attending physicians
  • No charge for the emergency room visit
  • No charge for housekeeping, or electricity for the fan, or any other miscellaneous fees

We only were charged for some prescriptions (PhilHealth covered some of them) and a few supplies. I’ll post those charges in a future post but they probably amounted to less than 100 US Dollars, off the top of my head.

I returned the final discharge paperwork back to our Nurse’s Station as instructed by the ladies at the billing section.

A nurse came in a few minutes later and questioned my asawa about the linen on her bed. We had to clear off our bed and give the bed sheet to the nurse to complete the discharge process. Someone had signed for our bed sheet when my spouse was admitted. It wasn’t my wife or myself.

An administrator then came in and gave my wife some prescriptions and an instruction form for medications she would still need. The staff person also gave my spouse a lab requests for three blood tests she would need to have on Monday to make absolutely sure her dengue had been eliminated.

I packed our bag and my wife was escorted via wheelchair to the front entrance of the hospital. We walked over to our Ford Ranger XLT and headed home. It would be great to sleep in our own bed again.

A BIG THANKS TO ALL THE NURSING STAFF AND ALL THE EMPLOYEES OF THE GUIMARAS PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL.

But don’t be offended anyone. We hope we don’t see you again for a long, long time.

36 comments

  1. So they did confirm your status by using the computer/internet. Dave your that 1 in a million customer that would mention technology. “So what year is this again?” Way to go Big Dawg! The real point of my comment was to let you know I’m glad to hear your wife is on the road to recovery. Dengue fever really kicks your butt and I know that from experience. Rock on Guimaras!!!

    1. Great to hear from you Captain Tom. Yes,they did confirm my status by using the internet. Imagine that! They did have working internet.

      Thanks, Melinda is doing better, resting at home. I remember that you, too, had the dreaded dengue, and as you know, it’s nothing to be trifled with. Take care, Captain T.

  2. Hi Dave, glad melinda is well again you can settle down for a nice Christmas now,
    I think you will find Phil health is available to foreigners as well even if they are not
    Married to a Filipina, I read it somewhere, take care Derek in pasig.

    1. Thanks, Derek. It was quite easy to sign up for PhilHealth, since I am married to a Filipina. I have to check out that foreigner angle you mentioned, Derek. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Dave,
    So glad Melinda is back home. Dealing with Government agencies like Philhealth and SS can get a bit stressful. Looks like we have to make another trip to SS Office in Angeles City since the different branches don’t work together. We have to go up there on Christmas Day anyways to visit some of her family.

    1. Thanks, Papa Duck. Well, there’s a reason the Philippines ranks at the bottom in the whole world as one of the hardest countries in the world to conduct business. We got off quite easy at the hospital in relation to other government offices we have dealt with here.

  4. Hi Dave, glad to know that Melinda is better now. Thanks also for the detailed steps with the PhilHealth. It is always a nightmare when you deal with the government offices. My husband depends on me with all our transactions. I salute you for what you did. Ofelia, Fred’s wife.

    1. Thanks, much, Ofelia (and Fred.) I’ll have more on the PhilHealth process in the future. It’s off to Iloilo today to do the rest of our Christmas shopping. Melinda says she’s well enough to make the trip. Maybe we’ll see you again at SM Delgado. Take care.

  5. Glad your wife is on the quick road to being back to normal. Your lucky they didnt make you come back with the Philhealth receipts anyway, they are real sticklers there when it comes to supplying receipts, regardless of them finding it on the internet first.

    Yes, I agree its 2015, and we live less than 50 miles from Washington DC, and we dont have any high-speed internet available here, except for wifi at $10.00 per GB, and thats why our house sale was cancelled back in Oct. because of that. The people that wanted to buy it ,wanted to operate a business from large building I have close to the house, and Verizon broadband is less than 1 mile from where we live, and the buyer offered to pay them $75,000.00 to install it I was told by my realtor, and Verizon wouldnt even talk to him about it.He said he needed between 320-360gb per month, so at a cost of $3,200.00 – 3,600.00 they walked away from the sale.

    In this day and time internet is almost essential for daily living in some ways it seems, we cannot stream anything here, or watch any kind of movies more than a couple minutes in length because it costs too much when you figure a average 2 hour movie in HD will take apx. 4-7gb of data or $40-70 dollars to watch it. So in some ways things are better there when it comes to internet, as long as you can get it there. Our speeds here are great, but are very expensive to use it if you cant get a landline connection.

    1. Thanks, Bill S.

      Whew! I had no idea that the internet issue caused the cancellation of your house sale. That’s a tough blow. Don’t get me started on Verizon. Though I worked for AT&T the small town we lived in back in Illinois was Verizon territory. I canceled my service with them and hooked up a magicJack. I also was fortunate to get a high speed internet service from a local vendor at 50 bucks a month with no 3G a month cap like we have with Globe here.

      Man, I hope that you can work something out somehow and get that house sold. I know you’re anxious to get to the Philippines. We’re waiting for you. Take care and the best of luck.

      1. There were other problems, but we got all them worked out, he had the home inspection done and was ready to ratify the deal, it was just then I heard anything about his internet requirements and how much data he needed, he had to put up $50,000.00 dollars once the house inspection was finalized that day, because of all the plans I had to make and expenses I would loose money on if he backed out at a later date, it would be non-refundable to him. I had tried myself to get a T1 line installed for myself a couple years ago, but since all cabling in this area is copper only, it was pretty much decided it could not be done for under 6 figures, so I dropped the idea, I didnt need it that bad.

        Yes, I was getting quite excited and nervous all at the same time,so much to do, and still had a lot of things in shop especially, to get sold, since I wasent getting very many looking at the house, I wasent in a hurry to sell certain things just yet,so it was a definate wake-up call to get me to start getting rid of EVERYTHING, so now most everything I planned to sell is sold, just no idea how long it will take to sell the house, is hard to plan this when you have so many unknowns , and once it sells so much has to be pretty fast, thats why I contacted you in a panic about the SRRV, but things are slowly happening again with the problem with her annulment papers getting taken care for the second time, (that in itself is a very long story, but you know how things work there so maybe you can imagine all the ways they could screw it up, even though she had legitimate annulment papers since 2007) so I hope to be able to come there on a legitimate 13a.which I would much prefer to do, but SRRV will work if I have to go that route and then change it to a 13a once there if nothing else.

        1. Sounds like a lot of hurdles, Bill S, but I’m confident that you will sort things out. I commend you for sticking it out and not coming over without all your ducks in a row. Moving to the Philippines, unprepared, in my humble opinion, is a huge mistake.

          The annulment process can be quite frustrating, I understand, from others I know that have gone through the process. There’s a reason the Philippines ranks as one of the worst countries in the world to do business in. We experienced that when we went to our local PhilHealth office yesterday in Guimaras to renew our PhilHealth plan for another two years (more on that later.)

          To be honest, Bill S., you might be better off keeping the SRRV. With the SRRV, it is my understanding that you don’t have to mess with Immigration anymore. Might just be easier to keep that. Either way, with my 13a I only have to visit our local BI office and cough up 310 pesos a year for my annual report as a foreigner.

  6. great to hear that your wife is back home and well on her way to full recovery. I’m sure she is anxious to get back on her feet and back to her gardening.

      1. Melinda might have gotten dengue from the mosquitoes buzzing around her plants, garden and yard. She could use her love of gardening to repel the mosquitoes by growing trees, flowers and plants that mosquitoes don’t like. Neem trees and eucalyptus trees help to keep the surrounding area free of mosquitoes. There are also many plants she can grow to keep mosquitoes away from the house, garden and yard:

        http://time.com/3959517/mosquito-repellent-plants/

        http://www.wildernesscollege.com/plants-that-repel-mosquitoes.html

        http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Plants-to-Keep-Mosquitoes-Away

        1. Excellent links, Lance, thank you. Melinda is growing a few of the recommend mosquito-repelling plants and once the rainy season hits anew next year, she will grow even more of them. She currently has lemongrass, marigold and basil planted, along with a citronella tree that she transplanted from our stay at “The Farm” but it is very small at this time.

          I have no doubt that she get infected from a mosquito in our yard. She used to go out at dawn’s first light and go back outside in late afternoon until well past dusk, both prime times for mosquitoes. I have since managed to get her to go out later in the morning and remind her (nag her) to come in once dusk hits. Thanks again for the info.

          1. The Neem and Eucalyptus trees supposedly cover the widest areas, good to plant a few around the yard. Unfortunately they also take a long time to grow, similar to the citronella tree.

  7. Well I am really happy to hear Melinda is well on her way to a full recovery.

    As for PhilHealth, you might have to jump through some ridiculous hoops but it is WELL worth it and foreigners NOT married to filipinos can get PhilHealth. I am not sure if it is after the second or third VISA extension, but you can get it…and it is one of the BEST bargains in the world.

    First of all, can you imagine how much the bill would have been if you lived in the United States. I don’t even want to think about it. About four years ago I was in intensive care for 16 hours and the bill came to over $11,000 and that did not include the doctors fees or test!

    On top of the much lower cost in the Philippines, PhilHealth probably paid 50% or more of the cost. So health cost can be really low in the Philippines. But the important issue is good care and it sounds as though you got really good care, although the rooms were not what you really wanted.

    One more thing about PhilHealth, it cost 2400 pesos a year!!! Imagine that, and that covers everyone in your family! One of the absolute best deals you can find anywhere.

    Tell Melinda I am so happy she is well again. Oh, I do need to say this for anyone that travels to the Philippines and anyone that lives in the Philippines..if you get a fever and it is NOT gone within 24 hours, get to the doctor. Dengue is damn serious, espeically in elderly and young kids. I have a good friend that lost a child last year to Dengue Fever. The boy had a fever, didn’t seem bad…but it was. He lost his life within 72 hours.

    1. Thanks, Todd. Melinda is outside now working in her garden. She washed our truck, with help from our maid, yesterday afternoon as I took a snooze (we attended a school function for our niece and nephew that took all morning long and I was wore out.)

      Well, I didn’t know that PhilHealth was available to foreigners not married to a Filipina until Derek and you mentioned it. I will have to do a post on that when I get all the details. And yes, it is an absolute bargain.

      We went to our local PhilHealth office in Guimaras to try and renew our plan for the next two years and on a wall poster I noticed that PhilHealth paid out P10,000 for Dengue I and P15,000 for Pneumonia I. Probably the reason we did not owe any more money on our bill when Melinda was discharged.

      You’re correct about that fever warning and I should have known better and got Melinda to the doctor immediately. We had a neighbor, 22-years-old, who died of dengue fever. It is absolutely serious and life-threatening.

      I’ll pass on your well wishes to Melinda, thanks.

    1. Thanks, Lance, I asked Melinda’s doctor about any vaccines. She didn’t know of any. While the vaccine might be available in Asia, hard to tell when it might reach the Philippines. Hopefully, soon.

        1. Thanks for the info, Lance. I’ve bookmarked that story. But in all honesty, I don’t know how Health Secretary Garin can state that the vaccine will be available in the Philippines by the end of the year. 2015 is almost over and the government operates on “Filipino Time.” What year is she talking about, I wonder? But I’ll keep track of the story, nonetheless.

            1. Thanks, Lance. Won’t do Melinda and I any good, we’re out of the age range, but it will be good for our nieces and nephews. Have to see what the cost is once it does become available.

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