PhilHealth reveals probe results on eye doctors
BACOLOD City – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in this city yesterday revealed the results of their investigation on Cataract Foundation’s three ophthalmologists who were allegedly involved in fraud.
PhilHealth said that since 2015, about 3,000 members have availed themselves of the services of the foundation in one private hospital only.
In the i nvestigation of the agency’s legal team in Kabankalan City led by Atty. Dennis Guevarra, majority of the cataract patients said the foundation has collected fees from them.
Task Force Crusaders (TFC) deputy national commander J ohn Chiong also added that the name of the three doctors and the hospital in the complaints came out in the investigation.
According to Chiong, TFC has received complaints from the local medical community t hrough mail, email and interviews, and – via letters – referred t he matter to Department of Health secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell- Ubial and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The complaints stated that cataract patients seeking help from Cataract Foundation were referred to the three ophthalmologists.
“The patients are reportedly taken to private hospitals in groups, although one particular private hospital is most preferred and where cataract patients are operated by three doctors of the same surname,” said Chiong, who refused to reveal the names of the ophthalmologists.
Aside from charging their service and professional fees to Phil Health, the ophthalmologists would ask patients to pay them an additional fee in cash right after the operation, the TFC chief said.
Moreover, the Cataract Foundation would also pay government health and social workers to “solicit” patients for them, Chiong said.
“Despite the sanctions PhilHealth i mposed many years ago [on] some hospitals, the massive and widespread recruitment of c ataract patients [ registered] with PhilHealth by a group called Cataract Foundation enjoining government health workers, particularly i n Negros Occidental, goes on,” he said.
Chiong said that since the eye operation is conducted by a foundation, patients don’t need to shell out money./