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.

Panay News - - WORLD -  By Mae Sin­guay

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./

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