Poe wants shakeup in PhilHealth leadership

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2020   •   646

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday said it is time to change the leadership at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) following a fresh wave of corruption allegations being faced by its officials.

“Pag ikaw ay isang doktor at nag-oopera ka, biglang nanginig ka, di ba pinapalitan ang surgeon. Kasi, hindi porke’t naumpisahan niya, ay siya na iyon. If you are doing more damage than good, then it’s already a signal that you need to be replaced,” Poe said in a news forum Wednesday.

Poe said a purge at the agency would adhere to the Duterte administration’s policy of zero-tolerance for corruption.

“I hope in the coming days, there will be better appointments of the ones who will lead our agencies — based on qualifications, reputation, and not recycling certain individuals to different departments even if that’s not their specialty. And the President is saying he has zero tolerance for corruption,” Poe said.

Following a series of Senate inquiries, the senator noted that “overwhelming evidence” already surfaced pointing to the possible culpability of some executives, including the agency’s head, in the mismanagement and misuse of funds.

Poe said the state-run health insurance agency needs leaders who are not tainted with corruption and devoid of vested interests, especially in these times when PhilHealth is at the core of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also stressed that aside from the resilience of Filipinos, the government’s effective response is also crucial to the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If the people’s response has been overwhelming, government should reciprocate with better performance,” she said.

“Ano pang hahanapin mo sa Pilipino? What is missing in the equation? A better government response na kayang sabayan ang determinasyon ng mamamayan. A government that can march in lockstep with a people determined to fight their way out of this crisis,” she added.

Lawmakers express concern over hospitals planning to withdraw from PhilHealth

Maris Federez   •   November 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers are expressing concern over a number of hospitals that are reportedly planning not to renew their accreditation from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Lawmakers say that such a plan, if materialized, will affect a significant number of Filipinos.

In an interview, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (Phapi) President Dr. Jose Rene De Grano said that several hospitals in Iloilo, General Santos City, Cagayan Valley, and Metro Manila already have plans not to renew their accreditation from PhilHealth due to the state insurer’s failure to pay reimbursement claims that have now reached Php20 million.

Senator Imee Marcos said the Universal Health Care Act, as well as PhilHealth, will be rendered useless if these hospitals push through with their plan.

Marcos estimated that around 95 million direct and indirect PhilHealth contributors will be affected by such a move and will lose their benefits.

Marcos urged PhilHealth to settle its obligations that are now in billions of pesos and just file cases against hospitals who are proven to have made or are making anomalous claims from them.

Senator Sonny Angara, meanwhile, stated that the hospitals’ said plan will result in the collapse of the country’s health care system.

This might also lead to the closure of hospitals which will affect the public.

Angara also mentioned that the government released around Php70 million as an additional subsidy to PhilHealth in 2020.

He suggested that the Anti-Red Tape Authority look into PhilHealth’s process on payment of claims and determine the cause of the delay of the release of such payments. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondents Harlene Delgado)

Senate panel sets probe on water franchises for Sept. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   August 31, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel is set to tackle this week the franchise applications of concessionaires, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company.

The Senate committee on public services will conduct the virtual inquiry on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

“It is the goal of our committee to ensure that the franchise applicants will indeed put the welfare of our people first,” Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the committee, said in a statement.

The senator earlier assured that the bills will go through a fine-tooth comb and challenged the applicants not only to provide access to safe and clean water, but also root out the inconvenience of constant water interruptions.

Citing 2013 and 2016 studies, Poe said the Asian Development Bank has rated the country’s water security at the bottom quarter out of 48 Asia-Pacific countries, with poor governance as the main cause, not water scarcity.

Currently, 15 million Filipinos still do not have access to water while more than 55 people die every day from water-related causes, she added.

“Now more than ever, access to safe and affordable water is basic and crucial in our fight to douse the risks and perils of the unseen virus,” Poe said.

Maynilad Water services the west zone area of Metro Manila and the province of Cavite while Manila Water maintains the waterworks and sewerage system in the east zone and the province of Rizal.

Among the guests invited to the hearing are some officials from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Manila Water, Maynilad, Philippine Competition Commission, Department of Justice, and some representatives from consumer groups.

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.

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