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DSWD improves medical assistance system for people in crisis situation

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by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has forged a partnership with medical service providers in Region 4A (CALABARZON) to improve the provision of assistance for poor Filipinos, especially those in crisis situation.

The signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) aims to ensure a more efficient provision of medical assistance to those in need under DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.

“The agreement will ensure a smooth transaction between the DSWD and the service providers which will eventually benefit our clients or those who need the assistance. Our goal here is to provide help faster and more conveniently, as well as ease their burden in seeking medical aid,” said Lucia Almeda, head of the Protective Services Unit of the DSWD-Region 4A Field Office.

Under the MOA, the service providers can secure a credit line of up to P300,000 from the DSWD.

They also need to ensure that their services are available to the clients.

“Instead of providing cash to clients seeking assistance to pay for hospital bills or purchase medicines, the Department will issue a guarantee letter which they can present to the hospitals or pharmacies. The letter indicates the amount of assistance being provided to them based on the assessment of social workers,” Almeda added.

The service provider will then bill the DSWD on a bi-monthly schedule based on the amount indicated in the letters issued to the clients.

“This strategy ensures a faster provision of assistance to our clients. As the DSWD directly pays the service providers, we are assured that the funds are allotted to what the clients are seeking assistance for,” Almeda said.

To date, there are 30 hospitals, dialysis centers and pharmacies with formal engagement with the DSWD-Region 4A Field Office in the provision of medical assistance to clients under AICS.

The AICS serves as a “social safety net” or a stop-gap mechanism to support the recovery of individuals and families from unexpected crisis such as illness or death of a family member, natural and man-made disasters, and other crisis situations.

Under AICS, the DSWD provides medical, educational, burial, and transportation assistance to persons or families in crisis situations, specifically those belonging to the informal sector and other poor, marginalized, vulnerable, and disadvantaged individuals.

These services are delivered to the clients through the Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) of DSWD Central Office, field offices, and the Department’s satellite offices in the provinces.

From July 2016 to May 2017, the Department has provided P2,273,021,751 worth of assistance to 707,116 clients of CIU nationwide.

Topping the list of aid provided is medical assistance with P1,274,388,430 or 56.06 percent of the total cost of assistance provided, followed by educational assistance with P547,222,904 or 24.04 percent, and burial assistance with P315,774,492 or 13.89 percent.

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