ID cards, MDRs are free; report fixers — PhilHealth

Marje Pelayo   •   March 4, 2019   •   1633

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Saturday (March 1) warned the public against ‘fixers’ who collect fees for assistance with the application for identification (ID) cards and member data records (MDR).

The state insurance agency said these people use the social media to target current and prospective members to pay a certain amount in exchange for facilitating their application for PhilHealth ID cards and MDRs.

“Such act is considered ‘fixing’ and strictly prohibited under the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007. We reiterate that we do not charge any fees for the printing and issuance of PhilHealth ID cards and MDRs,”
PhilHealth Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ruben John Basa said in the advisory.

The PhilHealth advised applicants “to proceed to the nearest PhilHealth regional office, local health insurance office or PhilHealth Express in their localities, and to transact with the agency’s frontline personnel directly”.

The public is encouraged to report any incidence of ‘fixing’ or similar activities to PhilHealth’s 24/7 Corporate Action Center Hotline numbers 441-7442 or text (0917) 898-7442 or send an email to actioncenter@philhealth.gov.ph. – Marje Pelayo

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3 LTFRB employees sacked over alleged corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Three employees of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) were fired from their jobs over alleged corrupt practices.

In its order dated October 25, the LTFRB terminated the services of Rustom Tolentino, Dahlee Joy Saud and Jamil Dimakuta for their alleged involvement in “fixing” activities in the agency’s Northern Mindanao office in Cagayan de Oro City.

Tolentino was the designated driver of the said office; Saud was assigned as frontline assistant while Dimakuta was an inspector. The LTFRB said that based on investigation, the three were involved in “fixing” activities to profit from franchise-related applications.

The agency said the investigation was prompted by a complaint, accusing Tolentino and Saud of demanding money, ranging from P50,000 to P60,000, as “additional payments” for the franchise processing.

The probe revealed the duo’s alleged scheme where Tolentino would receive the applicants and then direct them to Saud who would require the “additional processing payment” aside from the standard processing fees.

Meanwhile, the probe on Dimakuta was launched after a taxi operator accused the inspector of demanding P50,000 for the processing of the complainant’s taxi franchise application.

The LTFRB Dimakuta admitted the accusation when confronted.

“We’ve said this before and we will say it again— walang bayad ang prangkisa. The LTFRB remains committed to the Duterte administration’s drive against corruption,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a statement.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, for his part, stressed that corruption of any form will not be condoned within the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies.

“Hindi gatasan ang gobyerno. I sternly warn all our employees: alingasngas lang ng katiwalian, tanggal ka,” Tugade warned.

He also urged the public to help in the government’s campaign against corruption by reporting any anomaly or corruption in agencies.

“I ask the public to cooperate. Isumbong ninyo sa aming tanggapan kung may katiwalian. Nandiyan ang social media, nandiyan ang 8888, huwag kayong matakot na dumulog sa amin at aaksyunan namin ‘yan,” he said.

“Also, I urge you not to deal with fixers. Kung ayaw ninyo ng katiwalian, huwag kayong makipag-transaksyon sa mga fixer,” he added.

DOH signs IRR of Universal Health Care Law

Freema Gloria   •   October 10, 2019

Patients receive medical attention inside a hospital in the town of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat province. EPA-EFE/JEOFFREY MAITEM

The Department of Health (DOH) has signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Universal Health Care Law.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III led the signing of the IRR of the UHC law or the Republic Act 11223 which was witnessed by various health sectors.

The said historical event marks the implementation of the UHC law following its publication.

Under the Universal Health Care law, all Filipinos will be automatic members of Philhealth as direct or indirect contributors and will equally benefit from the no balance billing (NBB) once they have been admitted to the hospitals’ basic or ward accommodation.

Secretary Duque stated, the implementation of the said law will be gradual due to budget constraints.

At least P257 billion will be the required fund for its first-year implementation, yet only P167 billion has been approved.

By the year 2020 to 2024, the department will be needing more than P1- trillion fund for the operation of universal health care.

Duque added that the Philhealth premium rates will increase by 0.25% per year from its current 2.75%.

Philhealth, on its part, will consider giving new benefits for those who are paying their contributions which will be different from the beneficiaries of the Universal Health Care Act. — FSG (from the report of Nel Maribojoc)

Privatization, case rate payment scheme removal, recommended amid PhilHealth anomaly issue

Maris Federez   •   August 14, 2019

Senator Franklin Drilon at Wednesday’s (August 13) hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee expressed concern on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s ability to pay its members the necessary claims and benefits in the next ten years.

“I do not know how to sustain these in the next 10 years if you keep on incurring a net operating cost. At the end of the day, you might see a collapsing Philhealth,” Drilon said.

This is after the Commission on Audit (COA) released its report of the state insurance’s yearly net operating loss that has now reached billions of pesos.

To which Philhealth vice president for Data Protection, Nerissa Santiago answered: “Those were the years that we increased the benefits without the increase in premiums.”

Other senators were also alarmed by the alleged anomaly and corruption in the agency, including overpayment and ghost dialysis patients.

With this, former Department of Health (DOH) secretary and now Iloilo representative Janette Garin recommended the abolition of the case rate payment scheme and the privatization of some of the operations of the state insurance.

This, she said, will help eradicate corruption.

“Scrap the case rate case. Push through with the individual membership on smaller premium para mawala po ang [so that we will eliminate] ghost members,” Garin said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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