Sunday, March 31, 2013

A friend's unpleasant experience at RITM-ARG

Hello guys! So, how was your Lenten break or vacation? I hope everyone had a peaceful respite from the daily grind and managed to reflect or observe the Holy Week as solemnly as possible.  Mine went well and I stayed home most of the time and went to church to attend the Lenten activities or rites.

It's back to work for me today and it's been a slow day so far so I took the opportunity to update this blog.

Early this morning, I texted a PLHIV-friend of mine to ask how he was and coincidentally, he was at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine-Aids Research Group (RITM-ARG) this morning for his regular lab tests (CD4 count, CBC, etc.) and he complained that he was informed only last Saturday, a non-working holiday, that he needs to submit or have Philhealth membership documents already for his lab tests.  He was pissed off because he was only told about it last Saturday but how could he gather them when it was a holiday.  So the nurse in-charge asked for the Philhealth documents when he went to RITM this morning and he explained that he could not submit them since he was notified only last Saturday.  Good thing, he was allowed to take the lab tests and the Philhealth documents will just have to follow.

To backtrack a little, PLHIVs who are not taking ARVs like my friend are not covered by the Philhealth package for PLHIVs so they would have to pay for all the necessary tests like CD4, CBC, etc.  I guess that policy has now changed because my friend is now required to submit Philhealth papers so his laboratory tests would be taken care of by the government agency-regardless of he/she is taking ARVs already.

Anyway, like all other PLHIVs who are enrolled at RITM and have previously complained of the shabby treatment from ARG staff and bad service they get from the RITM-ARG, my friend has decided that he wouldn't want to go through the same kind of situation next time and has decided on the spot that he will transfer to Philippine General Hospital (PGH)-Aids Research Group.  He also said he has had enough of a nurse at RITM-ARG "who acts as if she owns RITM."  As of my last text, he is gathering all his records to bring them to PGH already.

I can imagine the legwork and stress my friend went through this morning and in working on his transfer from RITM to PGH.  Stress is a big no-no for PLHIVs.

With the bad experience of my friend, I hope I do not suffer the same at RITM-ARG when I go there for my CD4 and other so-called anniversary tests on April 11.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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