Blue Ribbon sets eyes on Philhealth anomaly

Maris Federez   •   August 1, 2019   •   1289

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson Richard Gordon has manifested his interest of looking into the alleged anomaly at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).

He said he had long received complaints regarding problems in the state insurance over alleged corruption in the agency.

READ: Hontiveros eyes bill protecting Philhealth from false claims

The committee will also look into the issue of conflict of interest with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The committee will invite the Duque siblings who are part-owners of the company that reportedly received several contracts with the government.

“Titingnan natin yung degree na yun. Ano’ng ginawa niya? May lumapit sa kaniya, ‘Boss kapatid mo ito.’ ‘Ibigay niyo.’ Ay, hindi tama yun. Tatamaan siya dun [We look at it on that degree. What did he do (about it)? Somebody approached him saying, ‘Boss, this is your sibling.’ (Then he’d say, ‘Give it to him.’ That’s bad. He will get the brunt of it],” the lawmaker said.

The Blue Ribbon targets to start the investigation by next week. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Michael Yang ‘no-show’ in Senate probe due to high blood pressure

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang was a ‘no-show’ during the continuation of the Senate probe on ‘overpriced’ medical supplies procured by the Department of Health (DOH).

Yang’s legal counsel Raymond Fortun on Monday (September 13) said that the doctor had advised Yang to take a rest after his blood pressure went up. Fortun also said he is prepared to submit a medical certificate as proof of Yang’s condition.

“His blood pressure had suddenly shot up. And for that reason, he was advised by his doctor to just stay home. Apparently, because of the proceedings, his health has been affected,” he said.

However, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairperson Senator Richard Gordon said the Senate Committee will not give Yang a free pass.

“He can appear, he is not under pressure there, he is in Davao where he is comfortable, he can bring his doctor if he will and we want to see him. You know that always occurs when somebody’s under investigation they come in a wheelchair, show they picture that they cannot appear,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corporation director, Lincoln Ong, is still under house arrest since he is still recovering from COVID-19.

The Senate probe was opened after the Commission on Audit (COA) reported the DOH’s transfer of P42 billion funds to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the procurement of face masks and face shields at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

PhilHealth indefinitely halts circular suspending payment of claims

Marje Pelayo   •   August 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has put on hold indefinitely the implementation of a circular suspending payment of hospital claims.

On Sunday (August 29), the state health insurer announced that PhilHealth Circular No. 2021-0013 on the Temporary Suspension of Payment of Claims is suspended to address issues arising from the said issuance.

PhilHealth, however, commits its support to its anti-fraud program that is in full force to protect the National Health Insurance Fund.

The public is advised to send a text message to 09216300009 and receive a callback from PhilHealth’s Action Center for more information on developments about the matter.

Meanwhile, suggestions, comments, and feedback may also be sent to actioncenter@philhealth.gov.ph.

PhilHealth to pay P17-B worth of hospital claims next week

Marje Pelayo   •   August 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) vows to pay P17-billion worth of claims to hospitals next week.

PhilHealth President and CEO Atty. Dante Gierran confirmed this during a hearing at the House of Representatives (HOR) on Thursday (August 26).

“Babayaran po iyan dahil alam po namin ang paghihirap ng mga ospital. Sa makatuwid po ay meron na tayo ngayon expanded [Debit-Credit Payment Mechanism], something like P17 billion,” he said.

The official said they are just waiting for the documents to be completed so the state insurer can pay about 60% of its total arrears to hospitals amounting to P21.1-billion.

During the hearing, Batangas 5th District Representative Marvi Mariño expressed concern about four private hospitals in his province who fear closing down if PhilHealth fails to pay them.

“I spoke with the private hospital in my area just today, Mr. Chairman, and they told me that they might close their hospitals in about 6 months if they are not paid with their claims,” Mariño said.

Gierran, on the other hand, explained that the province is not a recipient of the DCPM.

“Ang Batangas po ay hindi na po nagavail ng ating DPCM, Why? Because they are happy with our ordinary claims processing. I have letters po sa mga ospital writing me that they will no longer avail of the DCPM kasi happy na po sila sa regular filing,” the PhilHealth head explained.

But private hospitals argued that they are not using the DCPM since there is no clear explanation as to its purpose and to whom it is intended.

“Iyong portion po na iyan ng DCPM, may portion po yan ng professional fee, may portion po iyan for hospitals. So paano nyo po i-a-apportion ang professional fee doon at saka ang hospital fees kung hindi nyo alam kung anong kaso ang kino-cover nitong DCPM na ito?” questioned Dr. Jose Rene De Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Ass. of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPI).

Despite this, Gierran assures that the memorandum issued by PhilHealth concerning stoppage of claims payment covers only those with irregularities or so-called ‘bad claims.’

The official said the state insurer is willing to concede to lawmakers’ request to suspend the implementation of the circular regarding the suspension of claims payment. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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