PhilHealth pays half of its P1.1 billion debt to PRC

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2020   •   191

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Tuesday said it has already paid half of its P1 billion debt to the Philippine Red Cross for the cost of COVID-19 tests it conducted.

In a statement, PhilHealth said it has released on Tuesday P500 million as partial payment to the Red Cross.

It also assured to expedite the processing of the remaining balance following strict compliance to government accounting rules and regulations.

The agency’s announcement came after PRC chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Senator Richard Gordon lashed out at PhilHealth over its failure to release any payment despite its previous commitment to do so on Monday.

The PRC last week stopped the conduct of the PhilHealth-covered COVID-19 testing due to the agency’s outstanding balances.

Gordon earlier said the state insurer’s delayed payment has put on hold the PRC’s supposed flight to China for the procurement of COVID-19 test kits and other equipment.

The senator also called PhilHealth “very reckless,” and “very irresponsible” for failing to settle its debts and for giving excuses on such a serious and critical matter.

But PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran said the agency is only exercising its mandate to protect their members and their funds.

“PhilHealth takes exception to the insinuation that it is reckless and is playing on people’s lives. Its prudence in taking charge of its members’ hard-earned contributions is central to the state health insurer,” Gierran said in a statement.

“Its exercise of judiciousness is to protect the people and their funds,” he added.

Gierran also assured accredited laboratories conducting the current RT-PCR tests for overseas Filipino workers that the state insurer will expedite the processing of its payments “upon submission of complete documentary requirements.”

Philippine Red Cross lowers COVID-19 swab testing fees effective Dec. 1

Marje Pelayo   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Sunday (November 29) said it is lowering its fees for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) swab testing effective Tuesday (December 1).

From the current P4,000 per test, the PRC lowered the cost to P3,800 for private clients, walk-in clients and inbound passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The said lowering of fees is in line with the agency’s effort to help more Filipinos get tested for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the PRC said P4,800 will be charged for expedited test with a turnaround time of 12-24 hours, while paying local government units (LGU) will be charged P3,300 per test.

Institutions that charge their tests to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will have to pay P3,409 per test.

“Natawaran natin ang China na makuha natin nang mas mura ang test kits (We were able to bargain with China to give us a more affordable price for the test kits),” said PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon. 

“Kung mapapababa pa natin ang bayad sa test kits, ibababa pa natin iyan para mas marami ang ma-test (If we can purchase the test kits at a cheaper price, we will lower the fees even more so many can get tested),” he added.

As of November 29, the PRC has tested over one million people in its molecular laboratories all over the country that could test 44,000 tests a day in total.

“The lowering of prices would give way to more Filipinos to afford Covid-19 testing and would help stop the spread of the virus,” said Gordon.

COVID-19 testing service ng PH Red Cross sa NAIA, hindi pa naibabalik

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi pa rin umano naibabalik ang COVID-19 testing ng Philippine Red Cross (PRC) para sa overseas Filipino workers (OFW) na dumarating sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ayon kay Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Office of the Transportation Security (OTS) head, Undersecretary Raul del Rosario, hinihintay pa ng One-Stop-Shop (OSS) ang opisyal na koordinasyon mula sa National Task Force para sa pagbabalik ng COVID-19 testing na ginagawa ng PRC sa NAIA.

Ang OSS ay joint initiative ng DOTr at OTS para magbigay-ayuda, kabilang na ang pagsasagawa ng swab testing, sa mga turista, locally stranded individuals at mga OFW na umuuwi sa bansa sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic.

Habang suspindido pa ang serbisyo ng PRC, tiniyak ni Del Rosario na magpapatuloy pa rin ang pagproseso ng 12 laboratoryo sa swab testing ng mga OFW.

“There are social media stories about the resumption of the swabbing by Red Cross. As head of TGMROF, pending official instructions from the NTF Chair, the government will continue to render FREE RT-PCR related services to all returning OFWs. As what we have collectively done, we shall continue to aspire to give the most efficient service to these OFWs,” ang pahayag ni Del Rosario

Una nang sinabi ni PRC chairman, Senator Richard Gordon na ibabalik na ng Red Cross ang swab testing services nito na sagot ng Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) matapos bayaran ng ahensiya ang kalahati sa higit P1 bilyon nitong utang sa PRC noong Martes.

Noong nakaraang linggo ay itinigil ng PRC ang COVID-19 testing services nito na binabayaran ng PhilHealth dahil sa lumulobo nitong utang.

Ngunit giit ni Gordon, kailangan pa ring bayaran ng PhilHealth ang natitira nitong balanse sa loob ng susunod na tatlong araw alinsunod sa pinasok nilang kontrata.

“We are not waiting. We’re preparing a letter, saying we thank you for your payment, but we need you to pay the whole amount in accordance with the contract,” ang pahayag ni Gordon.

Sa ngayon ay wala pang tugon ang PhilHealth sa pahayag ni Gordon. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

Red Cross resumes COVID-19 testing after PhilHealth settles P500-M partial payment

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) resumed its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing services Tuesday evening (October 27) after the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) settled a partial payment of P500-million for its P1.1-billion debt.

In an online press briefing, PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon said he already requested all PRC laboratories, including the one at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), to resume the provision of swab testing services to PhilHealth.

Gordon’s announcement was made hours after the state insurer paid half of its arrears.

“So we are ready to test all the people that we have not tested. Iyong mga nasa hotel ngayon, padala nila, tetestingin namin agad iyan (Those staying in hotels, send them to us and we will test them),” Gordon said.

“We are going to have the testing again tonight at the Manila international airport muna, then tomorrow (Wednesday) regular testing will be conducted in full,” he added.

The Senator stressed, however, that though they did not set any deadline for PhilHealth to settle the remaining balance, they will no longer allow any repeat of the financial issues with the agency.

Thus, he said, they will immediately bill the government for future tests.

In a statement, PhiHealth President and CEO Atty. Dante Gierran assured they will expedite the processing of the remaining balance subject to strict compliance with government accounting rules and regulations.

“PhilHealth takes exception to the insinuation that it is reckless and is playing on people’s lives,” he said.

“Its prudence in taking charge of its members’ hard-earned contributions is central to the state health insurer. Its exercise of judiciousness is to protect the people and their funds,” he added.

PhilHealth maintained that it recognizes and assures the accredited laboratories conducting the current OFW RT-PCR tests that it will fast track the processing of its payments upon submission of complete documentary requirements.

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