With the approval of the University of the Philippines’ Enhanced Hospitalization Programme (eHOPe) effective 01 January 2017, the UP Open University (UPOU) initiated programs to support its implementation among UPOU employees. This initiative is also part of the Team Approach and Youthful Outlook for UPOU (TAYO) Program under the Strategic Plan 2016-2019, which aims for a streamlined organization compliant with the University of the Philippines (UP) System and UPOU mandate, participatory governance, and healthy workspaces and workforce.

The eHOPE is an enhanced version of the Financial Assistance Program for Hospitalization Expenses (FAPHE), UP’s assistance to hospitalization set-up in 2010, which allows P200,000 hospitalization reimbursement for the lifetime of each UP employee. The eHOPE now provides a yearly P80,000 for hospital expenses covering medical diagnostic procedures laboratory examinations, prescribed drugs and medicines in accordance with the Generics Act of 1988 (RA6675), professional fees of Philhealth-accredited physicians and specialists based on the Relative Value Unit (RVU) set by Philhealth, and expenses for room and board for the duration of the confinement. In addition, a yearly P10,000 is provided for medication prescribed upon discharge of the UP employee.

In implementation of the eHOPE, the UPOU Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration (OVCFA), through the Human Resource Development Office (HRDO), has initiated the university’s partnership with hospitals within the vicinity of its headquarters in Los Baños. To date, UPOU has signed memoranda of agreement with the Los Baños Doctor’s Hospital and Medical Center and with HealthServ Los Baños Medical Center without the need for any initial deposit, provided a UPOU identification card and letter of authorization is presented to the hospital upon admission. Mr. Michael Lagaya, HRDO Chief Administrative Officer, is also exploring partnership with hospitals where other UPOU employees are based i.e. Quezon City, Calamba City and San Pablo City in Laguna.

Another initiative of the university is the exploration of coverage for outpatient consultation and medication. On 18 April 2017, HRDO invited two health maintenance organizations, PhilCare and CareHealthPlus, to orient the UPOU employees of their benefits. Mr. Lagaya emphasized that availing of these coverages is purely voluntary, and interested employees may coordinate with the HRDO. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)