Possible financial mismanagement in PhilHealth, senator says

Kori Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2018 08:50 PM | Updated as of May 22 2018 08:51 PM

MANILA - Senator JV Ejercito on Tuesday said there is a possible financial mismanagement in PhilHealth because of the agency's P4 billion unaudited loss last year, according to the initial findings of the joint congressional oversight committee on national health insurance.

“Financial mismanagement tingin ko. Siyempre nag-aalala ako diyan kasi pag kung sakaling magtuloy-tuloy ito, huwag naman sana, probably might end into the collapse of all the organizations, this will mean also the collapse of the whole health system kasi nakadepende tayo sa iisa lang na source,” said Ejercito, chairman of the Senate committee on national health insurance.

Gregorio Rulloda, OIC-senior vice president in financial management sector of PhilHealth, said that according to their 2017 unaudited financial statement, the loss came from the expenses of benefit payments for senior citizens, sponsored members, and the informal sector. 

But Ejercito said these expenses were supposed to be projected or anticipated already by PhilHealth. 

“Kasi dapat na-project na nila yun dapat especially with the aging population, malaki talaga ang senior citizens, unang-una, wala na sila contributions pero lumalaki expenses, andiyan iyan eh. Dapat kasama na sa projection ng PhilHealth iyan kasi alam na nilang darating iyan, acted 2015-2016 dapat alam na iyon," he said. 

Ejercito also said the losses of PhilHealth are similar to that of the government's housing sector, where he suspects a criminal syndicate was responsible for substandard shelters for displaced families during typhoons and man-made calamities. 

"The situation in PhilHealth is akin to the housing sector fiasco. Was there a mafia in PhilHealth? I hope not, but the multi-billion loss is more than a mismanagement issue and lack of leadership," he said in a meeting of the joint oversight committee. 

"You in PhilHealth have no choice but to step up and do your job better," he added. 

Issues regarding the allegedly fraudulent claims in PhilHealth for some diseases like pneumonia were also discussed but will be fully taken up next hearing. 

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) again raised concerns about the unpaid PhilHealth claims, saying that some are already thinking of closing down. 

PHAPI also cited the problem of having no due process for private doctors and hospitals with regard to PhilHealth accreditation. 

“No hearing na nangyayari, kawawa ang hospital at duktor, PhilHealth ang judge, ang prosecutor” said PHAPI president Dr. Rustico Jimenez.

Senators and legislators have asked for the lists of allegedly fraudulent claims and unpaid claims in private hospitals. 

Ejercito has also asked President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a permanent PhilHealth president, saying that the PhilHealth president must be a financial expert with an insurance sector background.