MANILA, Philippines — Private hospitals expressed concern over the effects of the circular issued by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) temporarily suspending payments to hospitals and healthcare providers with claims that are under investigation.
According to Private Hospital Association of the Philippines (PHAPI) president, Dr. Jose Rene De Grano, private hospitals are helpless against whatever Philhealth sets itself to do, as such will definitely affect their operation.
“Ibig sabihin tatanggap ka ng pasyente pero hindi ka nila babayaran, until may kaso, habang may kaso,” De Grano said.
“Iyong po ang natatakot kami kasi kung ganun po ibig sabihin papatayin nila ang mga ospital,” he added.
De Grano said they are still weighing things up until their contract with PhilHealth lapses in December this year.
Once private hospitals decide not to renew accreditation with PhilHealth, all of their services covered by state insurance will be shouldered by the patient.
“Iyong deductions nyo po bibigyan kayo ng resibo, statement of account, and then you can apply directly to Philhealth for the refund of your benefits,” De Grano said.
But according to the Department of Health (DOH), what’s stated in the PhilHealth circular is just part of the agency’s policy to protect public funds given that PhilHealth is a government office.
“Wala po tayong pinagbibintangan. Wala pong inaakusahan ang PhilHealth. Ito ay parte po talaga ng proseso ng gobyerno,” said DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire.
Despite this, Malacanang ordered PhilHealth to immediately process the payment to private hospitals.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, PhilHealth should not just focus on the alleged anomalous claims. Rather, it should focus on addressing the concerns of the hospitals while the investigation on these anomalous claims is rolling.
Roque said it will cause a huge impact on the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law if the private hospitals decide to withdraw from PhilHealth.
“Huwag po nating gamitin ang blacklisting at threat of blacklisting dahil uulitin ko po, hindi kakayaning ma-implement ang Universal Health Care ng pang-gobyernong ospital lang po ang magbibigay ng serbisyo lalong-lalo na sa panahon ng pandemiya,” the Palace spokesman said. –MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)