PhilHealth owes PH Red Cross P715 million: chairman

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2021 09:38 AM | Updated as of Jan 13 2021 11:16 AM

Arriving OFWs at the NAIA Terminal 1 undergo health protocols and fill out documents while being assisted by Philippine Coast Guard personnel before getting clearance from the Philippine Red Cross to get swab tests on October 28, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The debt of state insurer PhilHealth to the Philippine Red Cross has ballooned to some P715 million, the latter's chairman said Wednesday.

The non-government organization expects its testing to rise if its cheaper saliva COVID-19 test is approved and will need more reagents, Sen. Richard Gordon.

"They say 'We have a lot of money, don’t worry,' but we do worry because we have other commitments to the country in terms of our duties," he told ANC's Headstart.

The state insurer is "nitpicking" on the details of the confirmatory COVID-19 tests that the Philippine Coast Guard and local governments prepared and Red Cross conducted, Gordon said.

"They keep asking for so many things they don’t need. We’re not gonna overcharge anybody. You asked us (to test) and we agreed on a protocol and you’re looking for little reasons not to pay? That’s not good for the government and the people," he said.

"They also owe a lot of hospitals bills. They’ve not been paying the hospitals. They have no reason to say that because in the first place we are just the recipient of all the tests made by the Coast Guard and by the local government. Whatever they give us it should have been properly encoded by the Coast Guard and the local government."

Last year, the PRC - the biggest COVID-19 tester in the country - temporarily halted its testing operations for several days after PhilHealth failed to pay its P1.1-billion debt.

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