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The House of Delegates passed on its first reading House bill 10-121-12 proposing appropriation of $350,000 from Non-Communicable Disease Fund to National HealthCare Fund to as initial funding coverage for patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment.

The bill findings say that hemodialysis treatments and related services are not covered under Palau National Health Insurance and is a very costly service.  Costs of treatment places heavy financial burden on patients and their families.  Consequently, patients have difficulty meeting the costs and some elect only certain critical treatments foregoing other required treatments.

National Healthcare Fund (HCF) in response to House of Delegates letter urging HCF to extend coverage for hemodialysis patients, recommended that the cap placed on amount of funds going to HCF from NCD Fund be removed in order for HCF to use the remaining balance to cover hemodialysis treatments.

According to HCF Chairman Dr. Victor Yano, hemodialysis treatments costs an average of $3,361 per patient per month, totaling $760,000 a year for 30 patients.  Currently 21 patients are undergoing treatments at the national hospital.

Hemodialysis treatment was excluded from national insurance coverage under RPPL 8-14 because of the high cost and was considered financially unsustainable.

House of Delegates expects to adopt the bill on its second reading tomorrow and for its third and final reading on the 30th of this month. (L.N. Reklai)