3rd PhilHealth STUDIES Forum Gears Up for the Universal Healthcare Law

As the national provider of social health insurance in the country, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) conducted the 2019 PhilHealth STUDIES Forum at the Citadines Millennium, Ortigas, Pasig City last 27 to 28 November 2019, with the theme, “Gearing up for the UHC: Generating Research Evidence for Planning and Policy”. The 3rd PhilHealth STUDIES Forum showcased research works that focused on developing the infrastructure and membership of PhilHealth to ensure inclusive and accessible healthcare services.

In the advent of the UHC Law, PhilHealth President, Brigadier General Ricardo Morales asserts the importance of reviewing the system, to identify the gaps where the organization and its stakeholders can act on to achieve the goals of UHC.  “As we start the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, we acknowledge that there are gaps in our knowledge, and we're going to fill in those gaps through research,” he says.

In his keynote address, World Health Organization Representative in the Philippines, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe stressed the importance of research in the implementation of UHC. “We need to recognize that the UHC entails multiple implementation challenges. These challenges can be addressed by insights provided by research data and we need to share what we learned, so there can be knowledge exchange,” he says.

Attended by PhilHealth policymakers, implementers, and other stakeholders, the forum held three parallel sessions focused on: integrated care systems, design mechanisms for the informal sector, and governance system for financing.

On the second day of the forum, five research works conducted by planning officers from the regional and central offices of PhilHealth were presented.  The studies assessed the current healthcare environment in preparation for the implementation of the UHC.  

PhilHealth partnered with DOST-PCHRD since 2015 for the conduct of the PhilHealth STUDIES (Strengthening the Thrust for UHC through Data, Information, and Knowledge Exchange Systems) which aims to strengthen health policy and systems research, thus, increase capacity for research knowledge production and use of research.