Private hospitals deny collusion in questionable release of PhilHealth COVID-19 funds


Posted at Sep 03 2020 12:56 PM

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MANILA - A group of private hospitals on Thursday denied its members' involvement in the questionable release of PhilHealth funds to non-COVID-19 medical facilities.

The 127 members of the Private Hospitals Association Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) have yet to receive funds under PhilHealth's interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM), said the group's executive vice president Dr. Jose de Grano.

"Nagtataka kami kung bakit pinapasa nila sa hospitals na may sabwatan daw. Lahat pong 'yan, ang pagrelease ng funds ay control ng PhilHealth. Wala kami," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We're wondering why they're passing the blame on hospitals, that there's an alleged collusion. Everything, the release of funds, is controlled by PhilHealth. We don't have anything to do with it.)

Sen. Franklin Drilon said Wednesday he would recommend for the filing of charges against hospitals and doctors allegedly involved in the fraudulent IRM scheme.

"PhilHealth could not have done it alone," he said.

The Senate had earlier recommended the filing of criminal charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and several former and incumbent PhilHealth officials over alleged anomalies at the state health insurer.

De Grano questioned PhilHealth's release of fund to dialysis and maternity care centers while private Level 1 hospitals that screen patients for possible COVID-19 have yet to receive assistance under the IRM.

"Sabi nila, ang Level 1 hospitals, 'di naman kayo tumatanggap ng COVID-19 patient. Sabi namin, 'Hindi, dun nag-uumpisa 'yan; tapos 'pag may mild or moderate symptoms, usually tina-transfer namin sa Level 2 hospitals. Pero, tumitingin pa rin kami ng pasyente'," he said.

(They said Level 1 hospitals do not admit COVID-19 patients. But we say, it's where it is detected. When the patient has mild or moderate symptoms, we usually transfer them to Level 2 hospitals.)

"Nagtataka kami, bakit naman binigyan nila ngayon itong mga dialysis centers at maternity package clinics, eh 'yung mga 'yun, halos hindi tumatanggap ng COVID-19 patients."

(We're wondering why they release funds to dialysis centers at maternity package clinics when these almost always do not accept COVID-19 patients.)

Private hospitals do not need advance payments from PhilHealth's IRM if the state insurance agency paid their claims regularly, De Grano said.

"Kung nababayaran ang lahat ng private hospitals sa mga utang ng PhilHealth for the past several years, di namin kailangan ng ganun," he said.

(If PhilHealth paid our claims for the past several years, we would not need this.)

--With reports from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News