PhilHealth pays P367M for Red Cross COVID-19 tests

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2020 04:28 PM

MANILA--The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has paid the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) P367 million after its chairman, Sen. Richard Gordon, threatened to suspend COVID-19 tests over ballooning payables by the government.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the payment was made last Tuesday, the day Gordon again criticized PhilHealth for the delay during a Senate hearing on alleged anomalies in the state-run health insurance agency.

Vergeire did not mention the amount, but Gordon said the payment was P367 million. He said PhilHealth still owed PRC P481.3 million.

"We are continuously partnering and coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross para maiwasan natin yung mga ganitong issues sa mga susunod na panahon," Vergeire said in an online press conference, noting that the PRC accounted for about 40 percent of the country's COVID-19 tests.

(We are continuously partnering and coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross so we can avoid such issues in the future.)

Under its contract with PhilHealth, the PRC got a P100-million cash advance, which was supposed to be replenished once 40 to 60 percent of the amount had been spent, said Gordon.

But delays in PhilHealth payments forced the PRC to use its own funds. The budget is used to purchase COVID-19 testing kits.