Philippine Daily Inquirer

Go to summon Philhealth, hospital execs

- By Marlon Ramos @MRAMOSINQ to of

Don’t let the patients suffer.

Sen. Christophe­r “Bong” Go on Wednesday stepped into the squabble between Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) and a group of private hospitals, which threatened to cut off their accreditat­ion from the state health insurer for its supposed failure to settle its financial obligation­s to them.

Go, chair of the Senate health committee, said he would summon officials of Philhealth and the Private Hospitals Associatio­n of the Philippine­s (PHAP) after the group complained that many of its members had not been paid by the government for medical services they had rendered to Philhealth beneficiar­ies.

He said he had spoken

Philhealth president Ricardo Morales, who supposedly told him that the possibilit­y of private hospitals withdrawin­g their accreditat­ion was “not true.”

“I already called Morales and he assured me that he would immediatel­y act on the [financial] claims of the hospitals,” Go said in an interview with reporters.

Acting as bridge

“As chairman of the Senate committee on health, which has oversight functions over Philhealth, I would summon them to address this (issue),” he said. “I’m willing to be the bridge for them.”

“I will again speak with Morales and if there’s a need to call (Philhealth and PHAP officials) to appear in the Senate, I will do it so that we can hear [the concerns of] both sides,” the senator added.

Go said he arranged a meeting last month between Morales and PHAP president Rustico Jimenez, who had brought to his attention the complaints owners of private hospitals

“Let’s help each other. Our patients cannot wait [before they can be treated]. I’m personally appealing to Philhealth officials and the private hospitals [to prioritize] the delivery of medical services to the patients,” the senator said.

PHAP open letter

On Monday, the PHAP published an open letter dated Oct. 15 warning that its members were planning to drop their Philhealth accreditat­ion due to the unpaid obligation­s of the state health insurance firm.

The group claimed some private hospitals in Mindanao had already lost their accreditat­ion because of various complaints against them.

Go joined Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in urging the PHAP not to arbitraril­y pull out from Philhealth, saying indigent patients would be adversely affected.

Universal health care

Duque likewise feared that the implementa­tion of the Universal Health Care Act would be derailed if private hospitals would discontinu­e their Philhealth accreditat­ion.

Said Go: “What’s important is that there should be no fraudulent or ‘ghost’ claims because we do not want public money being wasted.”

“I will request Morales to speed up the release of payments to private hospitals because I understand that they also need funds to sustain their operations,” he added.

Fictitious treatments

Philhealth has been under the microscope after two former employees of a private dialysis centers disclosed the racket of corrupt Philhealth personnel behind the processing of payments for “ghost” or fictitious dialysis treatments.

The Inquirer also ran a series of special reports on other irregulari­ties involving officials of the state health insurer, such as the issuance of fake receipts to overseas Filipino workers.

According to Go, he was already wrapping up the committee report on the budget proposal of the Department of Health for 2020, which was lower by P10.6 billion than its allocation for this year.

“We’re reviewing the priority items and the underspend­ing in some offices, and which items should get the allotments so that the delivery of medical services would not be hampered,” he said.

 ??  ?? Christophe­r “Bong” Go
Christophe­r “Bong” Go

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines