Whistleblower alleges PhilHealth chief asked him to 'find way' to reaccredit ghost dialysis center

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 07:10 PM | Updated as of Aug 12 2020 10:46 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) - A former anti-fraud official of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) on Tuesday accused the firm's President Ricardo Morales of asking him to have WellMed Dialysis Center re-accredited after the clinic was tagged in the anomalous ghost dialysis scheme last year.

Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorrsson Montes Keith said Morales had instructed him to "find a way to reaccredit" WellMed, which allegedly received claims for dialysis patients who have long been dead.

"Four or 5 days before I resigned, he (Morales) told me to fix the WellMed case... He asked me to find a way to have the WellMed Dialysis accredited again," Keith said during a Senate investigation.

"That was the last time. I could no longer handle illegal orders from Gen. Morales," he said.

WellMed's status as a facility eligible to receive reimbursements from PhilHealth was revoked last year after investigations showed that the clinic has been collecting claims for non-existent patients.

Keith said Morales also instructed him to "find a way" to have a certain Portia Natividad regain her PhilHealth accreditation after she was tagged in the ghost dialysis scheme.

Last week, Keith accused Morales of asking him to talk to Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Greco Belgica to "rub down" the insurance firm's case on overpriced COVID-19 test kits.

Morales denied all allegations, saying he was only asking the former anti-fraud official to clarify certain matters.

'JUST TRYING TO HELP'

The PhilHealth chief said he only instructed Keith to check Natividad's claim that her signatures on several anomalous WellMed claims were forged.

"I asked him to clarify, not to fix it," Morales told senators.

"Dr. Natividad's only source of income is practicing her profession. I was approached by a board member to do something about it," Morales said.

"Many doctors only make their living by claiming from PhilHealth. If they are deprived of this living, they cannot support themselves... I was just trying to help," he said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson rejected Morales' reason, saying it was not the PhilHealth President's job to make a case for a doctor accused of fraud.

"Kung may defense counsel si Dr. Natividad, trabaho ng defense counsel niya yun," Lacson said.

"It's not for the PhilHealth President and CEO to be interested in finding out kung forged 'yung signature nung tao," he said.

NO INSTRUCTION TO 'MASSAGE'

Morales also denied Keith's earlier accusation to have the PhilHealth's case on alleged overpriced COVID-19 test kits settled with the PACC.

"I thought that a simple clarification with PACC would resolve the matter," Morales said.

"I did not tell him to massage. I never used that word," he said.

Morales said he told Keith to "stop liaising" with PACC as soon as the received a formal subpoena for the investigation.

Last week, senators questioned why Morales approved the promotion of several PhilHealth officials who were linked to the ghost dialysis scandal.

Morales justified his decision, saying no cases were filed against the 5 officials he promoted.

The PhilHealth chief, changed his statement after Senate President Vicente Sotto III showed documents that proved cases have been filed against the promoted officials.

Morales said nobody told him they were facing charges in court.