Financial protection mechanisms for inpatients at selected Philippine hospitals
The study was undertaken to determine, from the patient's perspective, the comparative effectiveness of locally established financial protection mechanisms particularly for indigent and severely-ill hospitalized patients. Data was obtained from a survey conducted in 2010 in Philippine provinces which were part of the Health Systems Development Project and involved 449 patients from selected private and public hospitals. Direct medical expenses incurred during the confinement period, whether already paid for prior to or only billed upon discharge, were initially considered. Expenses were found to be generally larger for the more severely ill and lower for the poor. Hospital-provided discounts and social health insurance (PhilHealth) reimbursements were the financial protection mechanisms evaluated in this study. In average terms, only up to 46% of inpatient expenses were potentially covered by the combined financial support. Depending on the hospital type, 28–42% of submitted PhilHealth claims were invalidated. Multiple linear regression analysis was utilized to determine the relationship of the same set of patients' demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, severity of illness, and hospital assignments with selected expense categories and financial protection measures. Pre-discharge expenditures were significantly higher in public hospitals. The very ill also faced significantly larger expenses, including those for final hospital charges. Hospital-derived discounts provided significantly more support for indigent as well as very sick patients. The amounts for verified PhilHealth claims were significantly greater for the moderately-ill and, incongruously, the financially better-off patients. Sponsored Program members, supposed indigents enjoying fully-subsidized PhilHealth enrollment, qualified for higher mean reimbursements. However, there was a weak correlation between such patients and those identified as poor by the hospital social service staff. Thus, while hospital discounts, subsidies for practical purposes, and PhilHealth reimbursements progressively supported sicker patients, discounts were more responsive in assisting the poor. PhilHealth processes therefore need to be improved so as to more effectively support indigent patients.
Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
Issue (Month): 10 ()
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