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Kidney doctors appeal to Philhealth for more renal coverage

Dr. Viman Luz, chair of World Kidney Day Philippines and current treasurer of the Philippine Society of Nephrology and Dr. Girlie Reoyan, head of the PSN Central Luzon chapter, briefs members of the media about Chronic Kidney Disease. (Noel Tulabut)

CLARK FREEPORT – Kidney doctors have urged the government to widen the medical coverage for those suffering from renal-related illnesses such as diabetes and cardio-vascular and neural system disorders.

Dr. Vimar Luz of the Philippine Society of Nephrology (PSN) disclosed that nephrologists are appealing to the Philhealth to widen its coverage, particularly in diagnostics and laboratory tests in order to arrest a growing number of persons who may be suffering from chronic kidney disease.

“We hope that the government widens the scope of coverage particularly access to screening,” Luz said.

Luz, also chairman of World Kidney Day Philippines, made the appeal during KapiHann, a media forum of the Pampanga Press Club at Swissotel in cooperation with Hann Casino Resort. He was joined by Dr. Girlie Reoyan, chairman of Central Luzon chapter of PSN.

While noting that Philhealth has already increased the coverage of dialysis sessions to 156 treatments per year, he said that there should also be provisions for special diagnostics like serum creatinine and urine to protein ratio or urine to albumin. These are spot tests that may cost a thousand peso per.

“We recommend these especially for those who are high risk patients. We need them especially for out-patients,” he added.

In the Philippines, only 10% — or approximately 7 million CKD cases are recorded or recognized, that’s why the advocacy for kidney care is important, the doctor said.

For her part, Reoyan noted that in some provinces like Pampanga, access to screening is being made available by the LGUs.

“We would like to emphasize that in Pampanga, some government officials do that and reach out through medical missions. They run tests like dip stick testing. We encourage other LGUs in the country to emulate that, Reoyan said.

Reoyan also announced activities related to the March 14 observance of World Kidney Day at Laus Event Center at the City of San Fernando, Pampanga where free testing and screening will also be offered by PSN.