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MAASIN CITY, April 21 (PIA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) cannot reimburse just yet the Philippine Red Cross in behalf of those who undergo saliva test which the humanitarian organization administered as an alternative to the RT-PCR swab test in detecting the Covid virus.

This was because the health insurance agency was still needing the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health (DOH) on the matter, according to Dr. Rosario Suyom, regional vice president of PhilHealth Regional Office 8.

“Sa ngayon po, we are still waiting for the guidelines or directives from DOH as to whether this saliva test will now be used as another method for confirming Covid positive cases,” Suyom explained during the Panindugan virtual press conference Friday, April 16, hosted by Olive Tiu, PIA regional director.

“PhilHealth policies are always anchored on DOH directives, but for now we still do not have policy from DOH with regards to saliva test, so hindi pa po namin nababayaran yung saliva test na ginagawa ng Philippine Red Cross,” Suyom further clarified.

Last month the Southern Leyte Chapter of the Philippine Red Cross launched the process of using mouth fluids as another way of knowing whether or not a person was Covid infected, and one of the remarkable features was that the saliva test was approved by DOH.

It was the first kind of launching all over the region, it was learned.

Since then, a number of people availed the Red Cross initiative mostly in compliance for travel purposes, paying P2,000 for the said test.

In the Panindugan Zoom presscon, Suyom cannot say any timeline when the DOH probably can give the go-signal, saying PhilHealth will wait for the directive.

Meanwhile, Suyom reported that PhilHealth had reimbursed P404,000 to the city local government unit, the amount equivalent to the claims of 18 persons confirmed Covid positives and isolated at Maasin Central School isolation unit. (ldl/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)