MY column this week is for Fil-Ams who are now in their retirement age and would like to come home to the Philippines to spend their golden years in the country of their birth.

What is holding them to retire in the home country is their concern for their health.

They are scared to go home because of poor healthcare in the Philippines.

Most of these retirees have multiple medical problems.

Some of them have diabetes and hypertension, some even have cancer, and others need nursing care, like retirees who have suffered a stroke or dementia.

Under the current U.S. law in the United States, these Fil-Am retirees cannot use their Medicare cards for medical expenses in the Philippines.

Proposed solution: form an independent physician association

As of this writing, a group of Filipino doctors in New York led by Dr. Erie T. Agustin of Woodside, Queens is now in the process of organizing an independent physician association so that any Fil-Am patient with Medicare can apply to this independent physician association and they will be allowed to use their medical benefits in the Philippines for their medical, surgical care, or even long-term care.

Accordingly, a seminar hosted by Kiran Patel of the Atlantis Health Plan with Dr. Agustin at the Sheraton Flushing Hotel on April 18, 2011 explained the mechanics of organizing a joint venture with the Filipino doctors in the tri-state area to enable Fil-Am retirees with Medicare to use their benefits back home.

According to Dr. Agustin, major doctors and hospitals in the Philippines will be credentialed by these New York physicians and the doctors and hospitals in the Philippines will be the ones giving care and treatment to these Fil-Am retirees when they retire in the Philippines.

These hospitals will be distributed in the three main islands: namely, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Hence, these Fil-Am retirees can avail of the hospitals medical services.

Right now, there is a project going on for retired U.S. military personnel that would span across 121 hectares at Clark Air Base where retirees from the United States can go and get cared for in their retirement.

These facilities include the following:

1. Independent living wherein retirees are doing things on their own.

2. Assisted living wherein retirees are assisted when it comes to cooking, laundry, but they are still independent.

3. Nursing care wherein retirees are being given grooming, bathing and complete medical care like feeding, etc.

In a recent interview with this writer, Dr. Agustin predicted that it may be some time before realizing Fil-Am retirees dream of validating the use of their Medicare cards for medical and hospitalization expenses in the Philippines.

According to Dr. Agustin, Kiran Patel’s health plan for partnership with Filipino physicians would require at least 1,000 Fil-Am retirees to participate in this novel program.

Who knows — with Dr. Agustin’s dogged persistence, he and his group of enterprising Filipino physicians may some day enlist 1,000 Fil-Am retirees to sign up for this program.

After all, our estimate of Filipino-Americans in the tri-state area: 500,000 Filipinos in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut alone.

If you are a Fil-Am retiree planning to retire in the Philippines and have a Medicare card and you want to get this opportunity of getting medical care back home, please contact Dr. Erie T. Agustin at (347) 531-8085 or (718) 205-0030 on Saturdays and Sundays.

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