Claims for ‘ghost’ treatment have been going on for years, says ex health chief

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2019 09:52 PM

Corruption at PhilHealth is 'virus with no cure'

MANILA—Iloilo representative-elect Janette Garin on Wednesday alleged that the "ghost dialysis treatments" connected with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) have been going on for years.

Garin described the fraudulent activities as "a virus with no cure, no treatment and no prevention, because it always mutates whenever a new PhilHealth president, a new board, a new secretary of health assumes office."

The former health secretary, who served from 2014 to 2016, said she has seen anomalies at PhilHealth as far back as the early 2000s when she was still provincial board member of Iloilo.

As health chief, Garin said she ordered a "stop payment" against fraudulent claims, which was part of the reforms she introduced to the agency in 2015.

She said during a forum that the "stop-payment scheme was very effective, because it stopped the flow of money from PhilHealth to these abusive health providers and doctors."

Garin said corruption at PhilHealth also affected other claims such as pneumonia, cataracts, and even dengue where patients were nonexistent.

She also called on President Rodrigo Duterte to assign Health Secretary Francisco Duque to temporarily lead PhilHealth.

Garin said Duque knows what's happening inside PhilHealth, as he was also the president of the agency when she was chairwoman.

"We replaced the front people at PhilHealth and put in place a computer-based system change we called dashboard, wherein just one click you would see on screen the hospitals and doctors whose claims had drastically gone up," she said.

According to Garin, she has documents linked to allegations of PhilHealth fraud and she will participate in any investigation whether by the House of Representatives or the Senate.

"Is Congress or Senate investigation the only solution? No, kasi 'yang imbestigasyon na 'yan ilang beses nang ginawa, but the actual reforms that we initiated, we fought for, despite all odds, ang hirap," Garin said.

"Pero pagka nandoon na ang reforms, may mga iilang opisyal lang na papalitan, agad nawawala 'yung mga report, nawawala 'yung mga dokumento. That's basically the reason why when I left the Department of Health, I made sure that some of the documents ay dadalhin ko. I have (copies) of some of the documents to prove."