How to afford open heart surgery of my kid?
February 3, 2023
When you are earning just enough for your daily needs, it is hard to imagine being able to afford an open heart surgery that could cost in range of Php 400,000.00 to Php 1,000,000.00. It is disheartening. Trust us, we know. We have all been there. Good news is that we don't have to afford it on our own. The Philippine government gives aide in the form of Guarantee Letters (GL).
What is a Guarantee Letter (GL) from DOH? [link]
A guarantee letter is an assurance of payment offered by DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other concerned government agencies and institutions including Congress, on behalf of a patient, for the portion of the hospital bill.
Steps for lesser cost surgery:
First, you need to get requirements for charity. These are proofs that you belong to the indigent population and could not afford the surgery cost.
Proof of social standing:
- DSWD social studies report
- Barangay certificate of indigency
- PhilHealth Member Data Record (must be active and updated)
- Birth certificate of patient
- picture of patient
- government-issued valid IDs of parents
- medical documents (2D echo video clips, 2d echo result, ecg result, xray films picture)
Second, you need to have a doctor in Manila - from the public hospitals that accepts GLs and can do the surgery (List of Hospitals). Usually, surgeries are done in Philippine Heart Center. Consult your Manila doctor what surgery your child will need. The doctor will require face to face consultation and will most likely conduct another 2D Echo during your consultation. The doctor will then explain the surgery. Ask an official quote of surgery cost. Ask your doctor how much amount of GLs should you be accumulating. (Side note: Based on experience shared by other parents, if the quotation is Php 400,000.00 in cash. GL cost is double, and should be Php 800,000.00 in this case.) If your child's CHD case is Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) or Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), check with your doctor if you can avail of PhilHealth's ZBenefits.
Third, you will then need to raise the amount.
- Fund raising. Use the power of Social Media. Imagine if you have 1,000 friends on Facebook each giving 500 pesos, that is already a total of 500,000.00. Connect with other Heart Moms or Heart Dads for Fund Raising Ideas.
- Secure Guarantee Letters (GLs). Make a letter via email and send to politicians. In the email, attach the requirements detailed in in Step 1. The official’s staff will respond to you with a promised amount and a code. You will, most likely, have to accumulate Guarantee Letters from many government officials and political parties to reach your target amount. The amount will be paid directly to the hospital.
If you have reached your target amount including your other spending for logistics, accommodation, food, you can now plan to go to Manila and book surgery date with your doctor. You can look for promo flights and then look for a cheap place to stay that is near the hospital.
Before admission, validate your GLs at the hospital's Social Services department.
Fourth, once you're already admitted and have a running bill, go to Philippine Charity Sweepsteaks Office (PCSO) for medical assistance.