Bayan Muna wants a House probe into alleged anomalies at PhilHealth

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Bayan Muna party-list representatives has sought for a House inquiry into the alleged anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

House Resolution 1074, filed by congressmen Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat on July 28, said the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization should lead the investigation on the alleged “anomalies” in PhilHealth releases through its Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM).

The IRM provides for advance payments given by PhilHealth to eligible health care institutions that are directly hit by “fortuitous events” but intend to continue servicing the patients.

The House resolution cited information from PhilHealth that a total of P13.8 billion of the IRM fund have already been released to 599 health care institutions nationwide, as of May 27. Some P7.3 billion or 53 percent of which were released to private facilities.

Bayan Muna alleged  that Catarman Doctor’s Hospital in Northern Samar and St. Benedict Hospital in Davao del Sur—both allegedly unaccredited by the state health insurer—have received P9.6 million and P11.7 million, respectively, on April 15 and May 5.

They said it was only on April 22 that PhilHealth released a standard operating procedure for the processing of the IRM, the Bayan Muna representatives said.

“In the SOP, PhilHealth will cover only the accredited HCIs, either privately-owned or government-owned, with approved contract or memorandum of agreement. The non-accredited HCIs as stated in the Circular No. 2020-0007 can no longer be granted advance payment from the IRM,” the resolution read.

Bayan Muna also said that, as of June 2020, the release of IRM fund shall supposedly only be for COVID-19 referral centers, testing facilities, and areas affected by the contagion.

However, PhilHealth has yet to come up with a system to recover millions of advance payments it has made, they said.

They said PhilHealth’s claim that it is running out of funds was “utterly unacceptable” when it allegedly provided millions of pesos to unaccredited health care providers.

“If unwarranted, the anomalies amounting to millions of pesos can result [in] wastage of people’s funds due to corruption and inefficiency,” the resolution read.

The Senate is also set to investigate alleged corruption in PhilHealth next Tuesday./Stacy Ang

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