CEBU CITY – The Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is requesting the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to amend its guidelines for the Type Z Benefit Package particularly for early-stage breast cancer patients.

The package is being offered to PhilHealth members to address health conditions that trigger prolonged hospitalization and very expensive treatments.

Evelyn Nacario-Castro, chair of the RDC's Social Development Committee, in a statement on Tuesday said the council has officially made the request through a resolution which it already endorsed.

Under the current PhilHealth guidelines per Board Resolution No.1629 (s.2012) and Circular No.029 (s.2012), the package rate for early-stage breast cancer is PHP100,000 for the entire course of treatment.

The first tranche of PHP75,000 is given within 60 days after discharge from surgery, and the second tranche of PHP25,000 is given within 60 days upon completion of the last cycle of chemotherapy for Stage 1 to 3-A.

Thus, a patient who does not undergo chemotherapy forfeits the second tranche payment, Castro said.

Furthermore, the guidelines also state that under hormonotherapy treatment, only tamoxifen drug can be given to breast cancer patients.

"The RDC is seeking to amend the said guidelines to allow all early-stage breast cancer patients to be afforded the entire benefit package," the official said.

Specifically, the amendment aims to allow qualified patients to avail themselves of the maximum benefit package of PHP100,000 by not making chemotherapy a mandatory procedure, and by extending the filing schedule for tranche 2 claims of Stage 0 patients to other early breast cancer patients who do not need chemotherapy.

The RDC endorsement also recommended including aromatase inhibitor as an alternative drug for hormone therapy. (PNA)