AMID the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Cebu City Hospitalization Assistance and Medicines Program (Champ) was able to save P74.7 million on medical expenses in 2020.
Champ officer-in-charge Jundel Bontuyan, during the budget hearing of the proposed 2021 annual budget, said that as of the second week of December 2020, the Champ still has a remaining balance of P74.7 million for medical expenses.
Bontuyan said this was because many patient-beneficiaries decided not to go to the hospitals and have their medical checkup in health facilities for fear of contracting Covid-19.
We have a big remaining balance because some people opted not to have their checkup at this time, Bontuyan said in an interview.
Under the Champ, qualified registered voters of Cebu City may avail themselves of financial assistance for in- and out-patient services from any participating government and private hospital or institution.
Another reason Bontuyan cited for the huge savings was because patients who needed to undergo swab testing in the hospitals had to pay in cash.
Although the payment for the swab test is covered by the Champ, Bontuyan said the hospitals require cash payments.
Champ reimburses the amount provided the patient presents the hospital bill, Bontuyan said.
The Champ’s 2020 budget for medical expenses and maintenance and other operating expenses is P292 million.
For 2021, the Champ proposed an annual budget amounting to P111 million.
Of this amount, the Champ proposed P96.2 million for maintenance and other operating expenses and medical expenses.
The proposed 2021 budget is P195 million lower than the 2020’s budget which was P306 million in total.
The biggest chunk of Champ’s proposed 2021 budget goes to the salary of 25 job order (JO) workers.
Bontuyan said the Champ wants to hire nine more JO workers who will be deployed to the hospitals in Cebu City to assist the Champ beneficiaries in securing the needed documents.
The hospitals have requested the Champ to deploy staff to discuss with them and check the documents of the patients, he said.
Bontuyan also said there are only 21 staff members under the Champ’s office. Five are casual workers and 16 are JO workers.
Other proposed expenditures of the Champ office for 2021 include P10 million for drugs and medicine expenses, P1 million for office supplies and P1.5 million for the insurance of elected officials and department heads.
To avail oneself of the financial assistance from the Champ, the qualified Cebu City voter has to get a medical abstract or physician’s diagnosis, hospital bills, official receipts and barangay certification of residency. (JJL)