The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to collaborate on a joint research project that aims to contribute to health system reforms under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.

PIDS President Aniceto Orbeta Jr. and PhilHealth International and Local Engagement Department Senior Manager Francis Jay Remigio, who represented PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran, led the MoU signing in a virtual ceremony on June 27, 2022.

Under the MoU, PhilHealth gives PIDS access to its data and documents relevant to the conduct of research studies. It will also coauthor technical outputs and learning products relevant to the joint project.

PIDS, on the other hand, agrees to conduct research studies that will contribute to PhilHealth’s provider payment and health system reforms stipulated under the UHC Act. The state think tank will also provide PhilHealth technical expertise in economics, policy analysis, and research methodologies.

In his message, Remigio acknowledged the importance of this partnership in “[educating] Filipinos on the UHC Law and keeping them abreast of PhilHealth benefits” especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Orbeta said this partnership follows the story of model countries that implemented the UHC.

“By sharing data, technical expertise, and other resources, PhilHealth will be more equipped with data-informed analytic work to develop and implement evidence-based health financing policies,” he said.

Orbeta added that the partnership will also inspire PIDS health researchers to deepen their understanding of the challenges faced by PhilHealth and help them craft more actionable recommendations.

PhilHealth Acting Senior Vice President for Health Finance Policy Sector Clementine Bautista, in her closing message, noted that the collaboration with PIDS will help PhilHealth in its provider payment reforms given the project’s data-driven nature.

“Guided by the research and evidence to facilitate the implementation and monitoring of the reforms, we will be able to fulfill our UHC mandates slowly but surely,” Bautista said.

Also present during the virtual MoU signing were PIDS Vice President Marife Ballesteros, PhilHealth Benefits Development and Research Department Senior Manager Melanie Santillan, PIDS Research Services Department Manager Renee Ann Ajayi, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Valerie Gilbert Ulep, and staff from both agencies.

PIDS serves as the Philippine government’s primary socioeconomic policy think tank. It is a nonstock, nonprofit government corporation engaged in the conduct of policy-oriented research to assist policymakers in crafting evidence-based policies, plans, and programs.

PhilHealth is mandated to administer the National Health Insurance Program, which provides universal health insurance coverage and ensures affordable, acceptable, available, and accessible health care services for all Filipino citizens. ###

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