PhilHealth to pay partial amount of P265-M in debt to Philippine Red Cross this week

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2021   •   526

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is likely to pay a partial amount of its debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) this week amounting to P265 million pesos.

According to the agency’s spokesperson Rey Baleña, the state insurer’s outstanding balance with PRC is at P728.6 million pesos from its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing.

Baleña assures that they have enough funds to pay its debt only that it needs to go through proper procedure.

“Hindi issue dito ang pondo o pambayad. Ito ay ginagarantiyahan natin na meron tayong pondo. In fact nakalaan na ang ating pondo para sa COVID response natin (Funding is not an issue. We guarantee that we have the fund. In fact, we have already allocated our funds for COVID-19 response),” he said.  

Meanwhile, PhilHealth said they have returned around P103.4 million worth of defective claims to the PRC.

Baleña said as required by the Commission on Audit (COA) claims must be carefully scrutinized before they are processed.

“Hindi natin sinama sa mga kuwenta na yan yung mga claims na ibinalik natin sa kanila for compliance (We did not include in the computations claims which we returned to them for compliance),” Baleña said.

“Mayroong mga claims na nakita kami na hindi natin pwedeng iprocess, hindi natin pwedeng bayaran sapagkat may mga defect. Sa aming tala ay mga 103.4 million yung worth nung mga claims na ibinalik natin sa kanila for compliance (We identified claims which we couldn’t process for payment because of defects. In our data, it’s about P103.4 million worth of claims that we returned for compliance),” he added.

Apart from COVID-19 tests to frontliners and qualified members, PhilHealth also shoulders isolation expenses when a member is required to go on quarantine. This amounts to P23,000 per member.

In  case of COVID-19 positive members or severe COVID-19 conditions, PhilHealth is shouldering about P43,000 to P786,000 worth of expenses depending on the severity of the case. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Duterte orders probe into PRC’s ‘false positive’ COVID-19 test results

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday directed the Department of Health (DOH) to look into complaints of ‘false positive’ COVID-19 test results from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

During his pre-recorded Talk to the People address, the president said he has received reports of numerous false-positive cases from PRC laboratories.

He cited that 44 out of 49 or 89.79 percent of total hospital personnel who tested positive in PRCs molecular laboratory turned out negative when retested in another laboratory.

Duterte further reported that 187 out of 213 personnel of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) tested positive in the PRC Manila laboratory but tested negative in their confirmatory test.

The President also claimed that personnel of the Department of Finance (DOF) likewise had cases of false-positives from PRC.

Duterte criticized Senator Richard Gordon and asked about the veracity of the number of COVID-19 cases in the country given that there are false positive cases.

“Because of this information, then maybe the DOH must investigate the matter.  You could be putting people at risk. You could be falsely adding to the total positive cases per day of this country,” he added.

Duterte also accused the senator of diverting his pork barrel funds to the PRC. The president reported that the PRC has an audit of P86,815,433.24 attributed to Gordon. The President said he also wants an investigation to be conducted on the matter.

“Gusto ko malaman, tumanggap ka ba ng P88 million sa Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) mo? Pinarking mo ba ang PDAF  mo so you co-mingle it with money of the Red Cross and Congress iyong nakuha mo? Now, the money is lost forever, it cannot be accounted for, if this is true,” Duterte said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PRC says ‘blood processing fee’ ordered by gov’t; maintains blood is free

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross maintains it is not charging any amount for the blood itself when anyone needs it.

The agency stressed it is only charging patients for the “blood processing fee.”

The PRC on Thursday (September 16) issued a statement following the tirades of President Rodrigo Duterte during his Talk to the People earlier in the day questioning why the humanitarian organization is collecting fees for blood even if these are donated by volunteer donors.

In its Twitter account, the PRC Blood Services issued an infographics explaining the need for raw blood to be processed before it is stored for donation.

The PRC stressed that the collected blood in itself is given for free but the agency cited that it can charge for a certain amount as mandated by the Department of Health (DOH) Order 2015-0045.

“Nangongolekta ng blood processing fee para ilaan sa mga serbisyo at operasyon tulad ng donor recruitment, education, collection, blood testing, preparasyon ng blood products, at iba pang proseso upang masigurong ligtas ang dugong isasalin,” the PRC said in the statement.

“Sa madaling salita, ang blood processing fee ay naaayon sa polisiya ng Department of Health for cost recovery,” it added.

Also, the PRC explained that during blood donation, they have to ensure that high quality blood bags are used; effective ‘reagents’ are checked; and the collected blood is processed according to different blood components (platelets, frozen plasma, red and white blood cells, etc.).

Additionally, the PRC offers a way to waive the processing fee if the patient is an indigent.

In its post, the agency showed how much they collect for blood processing fee:

Whole blood – P1,000

Packed Red Blood Cells – P1,500

Platelet Concentrate – P1,000

Plasma – P1,000

Duterte orders SolGen to ask COA to audit PH Red Cross

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida to write to Commission on Audit (COA) chair Michael Aguinaldo requesting an audit of the Philippine Red Cross’ (PRC) financial records.

“I am ordering SolGen, si Calida, to write [COA chief] Aguinaldo a letter. Ask Aguinaldo to immediately conduct an audit diyan sa Red Cross. Ang hinihintay ko lang, the next step would really be the letter to be delivered by COA,” the President said during his pre-taped public address aired on Thursday (September 16).

The PRC is led by Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that is investigating the government’s use of pandemic funds.

The Chief Executive once again slammed  Gordon for the latter’s Senate probe into the government’s purchase of alleged overpriced medical goods last year.

Duterte had previously accused Gordon of using the PRC as his ‘milking cow’ in his previous election campaigns which led to a call for an audit of the humanitarian organization.

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