PhilHealth chief tells Roque to go to court if he has evidence of alleged corruption

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2020 01:48 PM

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MANILA — The head of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp on Thursday urged Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque to file charges if he had proof of corruption in the agency, after the latter questioned its bid for government subsidy. 

Roque said Wednesday that PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales had yet to sack any corruption-tainted employee even as he asked for additional funds for the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law that President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson authored. 

Morales said PhilHealth's legal team is looking into 10,000 cases involving hospitals and medical professionals accused of false claims and other anomalies. 

He said he also sent "boxes and boxes of files" to government investigators, which resulted in the filing of cases against 20 PhilHealth executives and employees. 

"Maybe we should ask the NBI and the PACC, anong nangyari sa mga kasong iyon," he said. 

(Maybe we should ask the NBI and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission what happened to those cases.) 

"Doon naman sa nawawalang pera na sinasabi ni Atty. Roque, if he has any specific evidence, he should file the case, he should go to the court... I will act on what the evidence shows. And so far, I have not seen any evidence and who are these people, saan ba napunta itong pera na ito," Morales told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

(When it comes to the missing funds that Atty. Roque is saying, if he has any specific evidence, he should file the case, he should go to the court... So far, I have not seen any evidence and who are these people, where this money went.) 

PhilHealth allotted P2.6 billion for the long-term corruption solution of computerizing all transactions, amid allegations of fraudulent claims. However, the project was delayed due to failure of bidding and changes in requirements, said Morales. 

FUND DEFICIT 

PhilHealth will run a P100-billion fund deficit starting end of 2020 until 2024, Morales said as quoted by news reports earlier this week. 

"For this year, we're going to be fine. We will start to run into problems next year," he told TeleRadyo. 

PhilHealth premium collections dropped when business activities stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state-run corporation also received P71 billion or less than half only of the P153-billion government subsidy it asked, he said.

For next year, the agency is asking around P138 billion, he said.

PhilHealth started the year with P130 billion in fund reserves, and would have to spend around P40 billion for COVID-19 response alone until January next year, he said.

The agency pays out P10 to 12 billion a month in hospital claims, he said.

For the first five months of the year, PhilHealth has released P52 billion in regular benefit payments, P14 in COVID-19 reserve funds for hospitals, and some P4 to P5 billion as accelerated return to hospital account, Morales said. 

"We don't know where this is coming from. Iba ang sinasabi ng libro namin (our books are saying something else)," he said, when asked about the P18 billion in that supposedly PhilHealth owes hospitals.

PhilHealth is open to a third-party audit, he said. 

The rollout of expanded healthcare benefits under the UHC Law next year will depend on whether or not PhilHealth and Duterte's economic managers agree on funds, said Morales. 

"Kung magkakasundo kami, tuloy ang ligaya natin. Kung hindi, gagawa tayo ng adjustments," he said. 

(If we agree, we continue to be fine. If not, we will make adjustments.)