PhilHealth to pay P930-million debt to PH Red Cross for COVID-19 testing Oct. 26

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2020 07:47 PM

Philippine Red Cross

MANILA — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Friday said it would pay its P930-million debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for COVID-19 testing on Monday.

This, after the state insurer received the legal opinion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on how to proceed with the settlement.

“Having been in receipt today of the DOJ legal opinion saying that the PhilHealth-PRC MOA is not subject to Procurement Law, PhilHealth will release payment on Monday, October 26, 2020, subject to completeness of billing requirements submitted by the PRC,” PhilHealth said in a statement.

The agency also said the payment would be in line with guidelines of the Commission on Audit.

“This should enable the PRC to immediately resume its testing of swab specimen of concerned sectors which PhilHealth pays for,” it added.

The Red Cross had suspended COVID-19 testing of repatriated Filipinos last week citing PhilHealth debt that ran close to P1 billion, prompting government to transfer the testing load to other laboratories.

This slowed down testing of returning migrant workers, leaving over 6,000 stranded in Metro Manila.

PhilHealth and PRC entered into an agreement in May this year where the latter was to conduct a massive COVID-19 testing program, charging PhilHealth P3,500 for each test.

PhilHealth has so far paid P1.6 billion for over 400,000 tests conducted, but incurred at least P930 million in unpaid tests after newly-installed PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran ordered a review of its partnership with the non-government organization.

More details to follow.