NOCHP under review

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz (Facebook)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said the implementation of the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Care Program (NOCHP) is under review.

But Diaz denied talks that NOCHP, which has a P100-million for 2020, will be abolished, stressing that it is a good program.

He said that NOCHP is undergoing thorough review after the Internal Audit Office and Accounting Office noted “systematic problems” in terms of spending, apart from the lack of guidelines.

At the start of the NOCHP implementation in 2010, six Negros Occidental lawmakers allocated a portion of their PDAFs (Priority Development Assistance Funds) to augment the province’s NOCHP trust fund.

The situation has now changed, Diaz said, adding that there is now a question on the propriety of creating a trust fund as there is no more pooling of resources from Negros representatives for NOCHP.

Since the provincial government is the only the one allocating for funds, he said that the consensus of Governor  Eugenio Jose Lacson and department heads is that NOCHP budget will be placed in the general fund instead of a trust fund.

326,868 Negrenses are enrolled in NOCHP as of January 2020.

An NOCHP cardholder and their dependents are entitled to free outpatient care that includes consultations with full course treatment and medicines, and subsidized in-patient care in provincial government-run hospitals and other participating government hospitals.

Since the program started in 2010 until December 2019, NOCHP records indicated that the program spent P322,645,976.42 for 523,537 member-patients and their dependents.

Diaz said that they are also looking into the problems of non-availability of medicines in provincial managed-hospitals which affected the needs of NOCHP beneficiaries.

At the same time, he also noted huge cash advances of NOCHP coordinators in the different government-managed hospitals to buy medicines from outside pharmacies, which is expensive.

“After conducting an inquiry, I was told that NOCHP failed to settle P26 million in debts the reason behind why government hospitals failed to provide the much needed medicines to NOCHP patients,” Diaz pointed out.

NOCHP also owes P4 million to pharmacies outside of district hospitals, he added.

“What we are reviewing is the system, which has so many loopholes and avenues that raised questions,” he added.

While they have a budget of P84 million in 2019, they still have debts of P30 million, Diaz said.

But, he added that they are now working with NOCHP to correct what needs to be corrected.

He also stressed the need to conduct an inventory of all its standing members and updating on NOCHP data-based members and their dependents.