Small private hospitals yet to receive PhilHealth COVID-19 reimbursement: exec

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 03:38 PM

MANILA - A group of private hospitals on Tuesday questioned the Philippine Health Insurance Corp's (PhilHealth) release of a big part of its funds supposedly for hospitals with COVID-19 patients to dialysis and maternity care centers while small medical facilities have yet to receive reimbursements.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier flagged the state insurance firm's release of some P230 million to non-coronavirus medical facilities under its interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).

Some small private hospitals in provinces have yet to receive reimbursements from PhilHealth, according to Dr. Rustico Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines.

"Naiintindihan ko po, mayroong collateral damage 'yung maternity and dialysis centers pero bakit po napakalaki ng in-issue sa kanilang IRM compared sa mga hospital na katulad namin na punong-puno na ho ng pasyente, cannot afford anymore, bakit po kaliliit 'yung binigay po sa amin?" Jimenez said during a Senate inquiry into alleged corruption in PhilHealth.

(I understand there's also collateral damage in maternity and dialysis centers but why did PhilHealth release such a huge amount to them compared to hospitals like us teeming with patients, cannot afford anymore, why did they release such a small amount?)

"Dun po sa COVID patients na ospital na nagma-manage, very few private hospitals ang nakakuha nang malaki except 'yung malalaking hospital dito sa NCR (National Capital Region)."

(Among hospitals with COVID patients, very few private hospitals got huge amounts except for big hospitals in NCR.)

Jimenez cited the case of St. Paul Hospital and 17 hospitals of Mount Grace Hospitals Inc. that have also accumulated up to P778 million in payment claims, Jimenez said.

"'Yung maliliit na hospital 'yun po ang nakikiusap sa'kin sa hearing, katulad po 'yung isang maliit na hospital sa Batangas up to now wala pa rin pong IRM. Isang hospital sa Antipolo ganun din po," he said.

(Small hospitals appealed to me during the hearing, for example one hospital in Batangas has yet to receive IRM, there's another one in Antipolo.)

"'Yun po ang sitwasyon ngayon natin kaya nakikiusap tayo na magtulong-tulungan na po. Provide po 'yung IRM na kailangan ng mga ospital."

(This is our situation now so we are pleading for cooperation. Provide the IRM needed by hospitals.)

Jimenez also said not all hospitals were informed of the state insurance's implementation of the IRM, commonly used during calamities or disasters.

"'Yun pong pagbibigay ng IRM ay napakagulo po. Hindi po nalaman lahat ng ating ospital na mayroong such name as IRM. Marami pong ospital nagtataka saan ba ho nakuha 'yang advisory na 'yan," he said.

(The release of IRM is a mess. Not all hospitals knew there is such a thing as IRM. Many hospitals wondered where the advisory came from.)

Jimenez said he has submitted data on PhilHealth's release of reimbursements to hospitals to the offices of Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

He added he would also submit the hospitals' letters asking for assistance in claiming the IRM.