This program was developed to address shortages of essential medicines in hospital pharmacies, a circumstance that often forced poor PhilHealth cardholders to have to rely on private boticas, or drugstores, and pay out of pocket. The 24-hour rule program created a system in which drugs and supplies that weren't stocked in the hospital pharmacy were easily accessible in accredited private boticas, conveniently located in the hospital’s vicinity. In Catanduanes, the doctor’s prescription (Rx) served as the voucher, which could be redeemed at a local botica - at no cost to the patient - if the medication was unavailable at the public hospital.
The process began when a drug was certified to be unavailable at the hospital. The attending doctor then issued the patient copies of the prescription. A patient representative took the prescription to an accredited private botica and retrieved the medication. The drugstore filed a claim with the hospital to be reimbursed for the cost of the medication.
In case the patient was not PhilHealth member, the local government subsidized the cost. In far flung areas, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) was contacted using cellular phone or satellite and requested to purchase medicines in private pharmacies in the city, which then needed to be transported to requesting hospital within 24 hours.
To provide the necessary drugs/medicines and supplies for PHIC members at all times the project has four (4) major components: (1) express delivery – drugs/medicines and supplies are delivered to the concerned hospital within 24 hours; (2) no discrimination policy – all PHIC members can avail of the full benefits and privileges in all devolved hospitals in the province; (3) no out of pocket payment – PHIC members/dependents will not pay anything for services rendered except when PHIC ceiling is reached; and (4) buffer fund assistance – the governor will allocate one million peso financial assistance for all devolved hospitals once their PHIC trust fund is depleted.