MANILA — State medical insurer PhilHealth on Friday acknowledged that it has yet to settle "billions" in pesos of hospital claims, which medical facilities say could finance the treatment of COVID-19 sufferers.
The Philippine Hospital Association earlier said PhilHealth owed private and public medical facilities some P20 billion in COVID-19 claims.
While the insurer has paid out some P106 billion since last year, some "delay" snag its processing of hospital claims, said PhilHealth Vice President for Corporate Affairs Dr. Shirley Domingo
"In a way, tama naman ang sinasabi... na there are billions [in pesos] that are payables," she said in a televised public briefing.
"But we have to reconcile our data with them, which we are doing naman… at the national and regional level, kung magkano na ang payables ng PhilHealth sa mga individual hospitals."
(In a way, it is correct that there are billion in pesos that are payables. But we have to reconcile our data with them at the national and regional level, to determine how much the payables of PhilHealth are to individual hospitals.)
To speed up the payment of hospital claims, PhilHealth would augment its staff in some COVID-hit offices. It will also extend the debit-credit mechanism with which PhilHealth pays 60 percent of hospital claims while they are still in-process, Domingo said.
Video courtesy of PTV
Dr. Jose Rene De Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc, said delayed reimbursements would be used to cover the salaries of health care workers, medical equipment and supplies.
"Malaki ang epekto 'yan kasi siyempre ang private hospitals nagre-rely lang sa aming services, admission namin sa aming mga pasyente," he said.
(It will have a big impact because we only on our services and admission of patients.)
"Pagka nawalan na nga ng pondo, siyempre maapektuhan po 'yung pangsuweldo, pambili ng supplies, pambayad sa oxygen," he added.
(When there's no funds, it will affect the salary of our employees], our capacity to buy supplies and pay for oxygen.)
PhilHealth's Domingo said, "we understand them (hospitals) completely."
"Tinututukan po natin ‘yan. Alam po natin ‘yan, nangangailangan talaga ang mga ospital ngayon ng karagdagang financial resources, lalo na itong variant na [COVID-19] surge ay andito na, it’s causing issues na with us," she said.
(We are focusing on that. We know that hospitals need additional financial resources, now that the COVID-19 surge from the variant is here and it's already causing issues with us.)
The Philippines is battling a surge in coronavirus cases linked with the highly contagious Delta variant. With some 1.7 million infections and around 29,500 deaths, the country has the second highest COVID-19 tally in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.