Alleged missing P15-B fund has been liquidated — PhilHealth

Marje Pelayo   •   January 26, 2021   •   481

MANILA, Philippines — Atty. Dante Gierran of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) insisted on Tuesday (January 26) that there is no truth that the agency is missing billions of pesos to irregularities and corruptions.

In August 2020, resigned PhilHealth Anti-Fraud officer Atty. Thorrsson Montes Keith made headlines for divulging alleged anomalies within the agency and claimed that around P15-billion was missing in the state insurer’s fund.

According to Gierran, they are finalizing the liquidation report as to where the said fund had been used.

Sa ngayon po, 92 percent na ang fully liquidated. So kaunti na lang (So far, 92 percent (of the amount) has been liquidated. Only a small amount to go),” the PhilHealth CEO and President said.

As for the delays in the payment of the agency’s debts to the Philippine Red Cross and other healthcare providers, Gierran explained that, like any other government agency, PhilHealth’s operation is also deeply affected by the current pandemic.

Aside from being undermanned, Geirran said incomplete documents from claim applicants are also delaying their validation process.

“One of the reasons of the delay, of course, we are under the covid regime,” he explained.

Lahat tayo napipinsala, mga kilos natin (We are all affected, our operations.) We are less liberated,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PhilHealth’s debit-credit payment method now applies to all COVID-19 high, critical risk areas – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has approved the application of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) debit-credit payment method (DCPM) in areas with high-risk and critical COVID-19 situation nationwide, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the policy on Thursday, April 22.

Roque said the move was made as high-risk and critical risk areas will also be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccine allocation, human health resource deployment, and other relevant COVID-19 response measures, as applicable.

Prior to the IATF’s order, PhilHealth, under its Circular 2021-0004, provides for the use of payment method to facilitate the settlement of accounts payable to healthcare facilities during the State of Public Health Emergency brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PhilHealth initially applied DCPM only to areas identified by the IATF, particularly in the National Capital Region, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Rizal.

Roque said the IATF likewise directed the National Task Force (NTF) Task Group Treat, through the One COVID Referral System, to utilize the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance Using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler for Early Detection of Diseases (FASSSTER) projections on target beds and human resources for health.

“These projections shall identify health capacity needs required to lower health care and intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rates,” he said.

“The NTF shall also review and implement the recommended Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat- Reintegrate strategies to reduce the health utilization rates and augment the needs of human resources for health,” he added.

Roque said that the task group will also identify target additional beds on a weekly basis that will substantially reduce health care and ICU utilization rates, determine and list specific health facilities and infrastructure to contribute these additional beds, and operationalize how these beds become functional with adequate human resources for health and equipment.

The Palace official earlier said that the government is eyeing to add 200 more ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.

“The NTF shall further engage the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to develop training and instructional materials of available COVID-19 response frameworks to enhance the enforcement of COVID-19 strategies at the barangay level,” Roque said.

The said materials shall be cascaded to the barangay, purok, sitio, and zone levels through the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the regional counterparts of the NTF for immediate and intensified implementation through barangay empowerment, he added.

PhilHealth urged to upgrade dialysis coverage to 144 sessions amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday called on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to upgrade its benefits package for dialysis patients to help Filipinos cope with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Hontiveros issued the statement in support of the call of some advocacy groups for PhilHealth to increase the free dialysis coverage for all patients while the country is still in a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

The senator said the state insurer’s dialysis package should be increased from 90 to 144 sessions, and include personal protective equipment (PPEs), the COVID-19 testing required before their sessions, as well as other supply costs being passed on to patients.

“P12,000 weekly for dialysis sessions, not including transportation, medicine, food, and other daily needs of their family,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“Ngayon hindi sila maka-access ng life-saving dialysis nila dahil puno na ang mga ospital. Karamihan ay nawalan pa ng trabaho, parang wala nang natitira sa kanila. This is a nightmare beyond comprehension,” she added.

According to Hontiveros, advocates from Dialysis PH, a support group for dialysis patients, said that they were forced onto waitlists because the few hospitals that offered dialysis services were already overflowing with patients. It is even more difficult, they said, that dialysis centers shut down completely when the staff needs to quarantine or turn the patients away when they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.

“Marami ang pumapanaw habang nasa waitlist. Hindi sila makakahintay dahil lifeline nila ang mga treatments na ito. These deaths, although not included in the numbers reported, are also caused by the circumstances exacerbated by the pandemic,” she said.

“That is why we have to help as many people as we can by judiciously updating our policies and programs to meet the urgent needs of all Filipinos,” she added.

When Senate session resumes in May, Hontiveros said she will file a bill seeking to permanently increase the free dialysis sessions covered by PhilHealth to 144 sessions to ‘help ease the burden’ while waiting for an organ donor match.

She will also raise this concern during the upcoming budget deliberations at the Senate.

“Oportunidad talaga ito para patibayin ang ating health care system. Nararamdaman na natin ang mga epekto ng pagkaltas ng budget mula sa Health Department sa gitna ng health crisis,” she said.

“Sana matuto tayo para sa next budget season because the price of our wrong priorities is too steep to pay,” she added.

PACC eyes filing initial cases vs erring gov’t officials next week

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said they will begin filing cases against erring government officials next week.

In a public briefing on Thursday (April 15), PAAC Chairman Greco Belgica said they plan to file the initial cases against several officials from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) once the Office of the Ombudsman resumes operations.

“By next week, pagbukas ng Ombudsman, we will be filing initial cases doon sa mga kaso na nandito sa office. We’re geared up to file a case next week and we are preparing to file more cases in the coming weeks,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DPWH officials previously identified by President Rodrigo Duterte as involved in corruption had been under investigation by the PACC. Belgica said the agency found evidence proving their involvement in illegal activities.

“We have discovered many damning evidence on the officials. However, doon po sa ma legislators na mga involved, ito po ay iti-nurn over na namin sa Department of Justice (DOJ),” he said.

The PACC official said the agency has no jurisdiction over legislators but as for officials in the DPWH, the agency found evidence proving their involvement.

“Napaka ganda po ng investigation. We are currently substantiating with documents and evidence the testimonies na nakuha namin. As expected these are positive results that support the theories that we had. AAC

 

 

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