Gierran not fit for PhilHealth job - House health panel chair

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2021 11:20 AM

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MANILA - PhilHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran might not be the right man for the job as head of the state health insurer, the chairperson of the House Committee on Health said Tuesday.

"If you’re going to ask me, straightforward, I think hindi," Quezon Rep. Helen Tan said in an interview with ANC's Headstart.

Gierran, a certified public accountant and lawyer, was the director of the National Bureau of Investigation from 2016 until his retirement in 2020.

Tan said that during a committee hearing with Gierran, the PhilHealth official seemed not to know what was happening and was unable to defend a circular temporarily suspending payments of claims to hospitals.

"When we asked on the issue on inconsistencies of the circular on the benefit package on COVID, it’s seems na parang medyo hindi niya alam (like he does not know) what’s happening, and they cannot defend the circular, and the events of the issuance of the circular," he said.

She added, she hopes Gierran is not hurt with this remark as she knows that the official is "doing his best on checking fraudulent acts."

Tan said when lawmakers were crafting the Universal Health Care Act, they enumerated the qualifications for a PhilHealth chief. She said their primary condition was for that person to have knowledge on health insurance, health economy, and public health.

"I don’t know actually who is the right person. Puwede namang pag-aralan (it can be learned), that’s why we ask them to undergo seminars and trainings. They said all the board members and even the President has complied on the requirements that we set," she said.

She said while pondering who may be a good fit, she thought Usec. Leopoldo Vega of the Department of Health could be one due to his experience being a medical center chief.

"More or less he has that knowledge on the operations of the hospitals. Alam din niya ang usapin (He also knows what's being discussed) on the ground and I think being a doctor, alam din niya how to reconcile yung disagreement between the medical auditors nila and the clinicians," she said.

However, she noted that President Rodrigo Duterte would have to make the call on appointing the chief of the state health insurer.