Why hospitals aren’t keen on nat’l gov’t paying veterans’ bills

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More or less 20 years have passed since  my wife Trinidad and I—now in the twilight of our lives—started consulting EENT experts. On June 16, 2011, my wife underwent cataract surgery on her left eye, for which we paid P10,000. When I came to know this amount was reimbursable due to my being a World War II guerilla, I sent a letter, requesting reimbursement of our surgical expenses, to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. This was on Mar. 19, 2012. In my letter, I enclosed the medical certificate and official receipt No. 0739 as supporting documents.

On June 7, 2012, Director Nona F. Legaspi of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City wrote me requesting “a photocopy of the identification card of Mrs. Peteza or authenticated copy of our marriage contract to facilitate our claims.” Forthwith I submitted all the required additional documents on June 25, 2012. But since then nothing has been heard of our claim.

On July 17, 2012, we visited a specialist in Legaspi City for a medical examination of our ears, and the findings were that my wife needed a hearing aid for her left ear, and I for both of my ears. My son Fermin, an engineer, paid P147,000 for the three hearing aids.

I decided not to ask anymore for reimbursement of that amount from VMMC considering that, based on experience, it takes years for that government body to act on such applications. Perhaps, the delay in reimbursing such expenses is one of the reasons accredited local government hospitals do not sign memorandums of agreement with the national government that would spare veterans the burden of paying their hospital bills directly.

A classic example is Ernesto B. Narido of Camarines Norte. Narido was made to pay more than P2,000 in hospital bills by the Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital despite showing his identification card, which PVAO issued to him as a World War II guerrilla-veteran.

I believe the reluctance of government hospitals is due to endless delays in the payment of veterans’ hospital bills by the concerned national agency. What do the PVAO and the VMMC have to say on the matter?

—GODOFREDO O. PETEZA,

district commander,

Camarines Norte Veterans

District-Region 5,

Veterans Federation

of the Philippines,

JP Rizal Street, Barangay Camambugan, Daet,

Camarines Norte 4600

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