Wednesday, January 2, 2019

ANSWERED PRAYERS



     
     A new era has dawned on Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) highlighted by: a newly constructed modern Hemo-Dialysis Center comparable to those of Cebu and Manila, a new high rise building, new hospital equipment, continuing construction of the Pharmacy, Blood Bank, Rehabilitation Center, Emergency facility and the newly built Malasakit Center. Medical services has greatly improved breaking the stigma that government service equates poor service. Behind all these developments is a type of aggressive but proactive management implemented by the new Medical Center Chief in the person of Dr. Mutya Kismet T. Macuno. Truly, Dr. Macuno is God sent especially for us dialysis patients who have experienced the worst condition before. The old Hemo-Dialysis Unit (HDU) was located in a small room with ten not well known brand of dialysis machines placed side by side very near each other. Admitted patients have dialysis together with the regular outpatients such that risk of infection or contamination is high. The room has poor ventilation and noisy with not so disciplined HDU Staff. The old HDU is right beside a huge electric generator creating a fire hazard in case of power overload. It is also beside the hospital’s morgue. Dialysis patients and their watchers in the waiting area are used to seeing dead patients in stretcher wheeled on the dirty hallway.


     In contrast to the old HDU, the new HDU started operation in July, 2018 is located in front of the hospital which is newly painted with appropriate combination of suiting colors, it has 15 brand new German made Fresenius dialysis machines placed not so close to each other, very clean comfort room, well lighted and with sufficient number of big split-type air-conditioners, state of the art water filtration facility, readily available oxygen outlets on the wall per patient and most of all; it has newly trained dialysis staff with two doctors on an eight hour shift. We are also very blessed because we do not have to pay for our dialysis. We are covered by 90 dialysis sessions per year under PHILHEALTH on a no balance billing scheme. Upon exhaustion of our PHILHEALTH benefits our dialysis expenses are automatically charged to the PDAF and Medical Assistance Fund (MAF) provided by the DOH, Governor and Congressmen of Bohol. Our monthly laboratory tests expenses are also charged to the PDAP/MAF. Depending on funds availability, part of our maintenance medicines expenses are also charged to the MAF.

 

     As a gesture of gratitude, I have written a letter (copy printed below) to Dr. Macuno for all that she has done for us dialysis patients and to all the patients of GCGMH:

July 11, 2018

Dr. Mutya Kismet T. Macuno MD FPPS, FPSNbM, MDM
Medical Center Chief II
GCGMH, Tagbilaran City

Dear Madam:

After so many years of longing for a new relocation site of our old HDU, finally our dreams are fulfilled by an angel who knows what we feel and what we need and that is you. In behalf of the Bohol Association of Hemo-Dialysis Patients and Watchers (BOASHEPAWA) we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to you for everything that you have done for us. You are truly a child of God who knows how to take care of His people.

Having a new site for the HDU is one of the major objectives of our association. I have written Dr. Arcay some letters regarding this but he seemed to be having difficulty accomplishing our request then. For your information, our other objectives that we have fulfilled are the following:

1.      Our 2nd Board Resolution was about the putting up of the provincial office of the Phillipine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO); and thru the intervention of Gov. Chatto our request was granted;
2.      Our next request was on the extension of PHILHEALTH’s 45 dialysis sessions per year to 90 sessions per year. The granting of our request was facilitated by Cong. Relampagos thru his relative who is a ranking officer of PHILHEALTH;
3.      Then, the request to Sec. Butch Abad on financial assistance coming from taxes from vice such as cigarette, liquor and gambling thru Cong. Relampagos. This could be the result of funds coming from Congressmen and the Medical Assistance Fund; and,
4.      Also, our association was able to give financial assistance to the family of our members who died (P1,000.00 pesos for directors / officers and P500.00 pesos for regular members).

Our current objective is to have a gathering probably on a beach to know more of each other, exchange experiences and insights about dialysis; and have an election afterwards.

You have done so much for us, but if you could extend an accreditation of our association in the future or refer a forum on dialysis, then, we could not ask for more.

Thank you very much and regards.

Very truly yours,

SIGNED:
BUEN T. DOMINGO
Chairman, BOASHEPAWA

     When I became a regular dialysis patient of GCGMH in October, 2011, I saw the need of putting up an association of dialysis patients with a legal personality (registered with the SEC) for us to be able to express our needs, privileges / rights and to legally solicit financial assistance for our dialysis needs. Also, I thought that it would not be difficult for me to do the organizing since I was an Area Development Officer of the UCPB-CIIF Finance and Development Corporation and I have experience in Community Development by organizing Small Coconut Farmers Organizations. I immediately organized a core group despite some negative feedback by the patients and nurses who were opposed to an association of dialysis patients (maybe they were “burned” by their previous experiences in organizations). I prepared the basic requirements and went to the provincial office of the SEC. I lost count of the number of times I went back to the office of SEC in Bohol to comply with the additional requirements or amendments in our documents since the SEC is very meticulous in screening applicant organization for registration. I have to go to the National Office of SEC in Manila to personally submit our registration documents to facilitate its approval despite my physical condition. I have water in my lungs due to previous Pneumonia infection and high blood pressure. I was gasping for air with my wife when we were crossing the overpass in Ortigas. At last on May 9, 2013, our association of dialysis patients and watchers was registered with the SEC with Registration Number: CN 201326623.

     Having dialysis before is very difficult since there was no provincial office of the PCSO. The patients themselves or their close relatives have to go to the National Office of PCSO in Manila just to get a 20 thousand pesos per three months financial assistance for the cost of dialysis. The 45 dialysis sessions per year of PHILHEALTH before was not enough to cover our dialysis cost for a year. They have to ride a ship to go to Manila and wait for many hours in a long line at the PCSO office only to get a net of 16 thousand pesos not considering the health risk of the patients. So we are grateful when our request for the putting up of the provincial office of the PCSO was granted. Also, we have to individually solicit funds from politicians and NGOs. During the period from November to December, many of the indigent patients have to undergo dialysis for once a week only instead of the regular twice a week due to lack of funds.

     We learned that having an association is effective in lobbying for our dialysis needs, so we passed a Board Resolution requesting the PHILHEALTH to extend its assistance of 45 dialysis sessions per year to 90 dialysis sessions per year. We provided copies of our request to Congressmen and post it in the social media joining other dialysis patients associations with the same request. At last, our plea was considered by PHILHEALTH and the 90 dialysis sessions per year was finally approved.  

     We also saw the opportunity of getting financial assistance from the government through the Sin Taxes (taxes obtained from cigarettes, alcohol and gambling), so we passed a Board Resolution requesting the then Budget Secretary, Butch Abad, to allot some funds for dialysis assistance. We wrote the Congressmen of Bohol to do the same from their Priority Development Fund or PDAF.
We are very grateful, when the Congressmen started allocating funds directly to the GCGMH and the DOH has implemented their Medical Assistance Program for the hospital. From then on and with Dr. Macuno at the helm as Chief of the Hospital, we do not have a problem regarding our dialysis needs.

     Many thanks for our prayers that have been heard. Merry Christmas and a happy prosperous New Year to everyone.