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

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2021   •   285

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)

PhilHealth extends payment deadline for employers to Feb. 22

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has extended the remittance deadline for employers to February 22.

This is for contributions applicable for the month of January.

In a statement, the agency said the extension of the deadline is in view of the technical issues in the Electronic Premium Remittance System (EPRS).

The technical glitch since February 11 has prevented employers from generating their statement of premium accounts or billing statements. 

The agency said the extension applies to all employers in the private and government sectors nationwide.

For assistance, employers may contact the local PhilHealth office.

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PRC opens drive-thru saliva testing sites in two Metro Manila malls

Marje Pelayo   •   February 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has rolled out drive-thru saliva testing sites at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City and at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

Those who wish to get tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may proceed to the said malls provided they have pre-registered or booked online for the test on book.redcross1158.com.

The drive-thru saliva testing, which opens from 9:00AM to 5:00PM is priced at P2,500 — much cheaper than a swab test which costs P3,800.

PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon said, the price may be further lowered depending on the demand.

“Kung marami ang magpapa-saliva test gusto ko ibaba pa hanggang P1,000 kung kakayanin,para lingo-linggo magpapa-test ang tao,” he said.

“What is the purpose? Our purpose is to get people working in the malls, driving buses, jeepney, tricycles and people who want to work in factories,” he added.

He said saliva testing is almost similar to swab testing which is considered the golden standard of the World Health Organization (WHO) for COVID-19 testing.

Prior to the saliva test, the public is advised to fast – do not eat or drink, do not smoke or gargle anything – 30 minutes before the test.

The process will take about three to four hours before the result is received.

Aside from malls, the PRC is also coordinating with agencies in the private sector who are interested in availing the saliva testing. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

PRC eyes COVID-19 saliva testing in malls

Marje Pelayo   •   February 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross will launch its drive-thru saliva COVID-19 test in malls starting February 3.

The PRC believes saliva testing is easier, more convenient and cheaper.

According to former health secretary now PRC’s molecular laboratory head Dr. Paulyn Ubial, the agency now has 3,100 samples since they started the program on January 25.

To further expand their reach, the PRC targets to put up saliva testing boots in parking areas of shopping malls.

Pwedeng mag drive thru. Ibig sabihin dadaan ang kanilang sasakyan at bibigyan sila ng sample collection kit at  doon sa loob ng sasakyan dudura o idu-drool yung kanilang laway (It can be drive-thru where they can stay inside the vehicle and will be given a sample collection kit for their spit),” Ubial said.

“Kapag nakakuha na sila ng one to two milliliters i-aabot na lang nila ang lalagyan na vial doon sa ating mga saliva collectors (Once they have filled one to two milliliters of the vial, they can just hand it over the vial to saliva collectors),” she added.

Aside from malls, the PRC is also looking to bring the project to factories, offices, schools and public transport stations for jeepney and bus drivers.

Tourist destinations such as Boracay, Siargao, El Nido in Palawan and Bohol are also future venues for the initiative.

Gusto nating ma-test ang mga tao bago sila parang pumasok sa eskwela, pumasok sa trabaho, pumasok sa mall, para nang sa gayon ay mahiwalay na natin ang positive  sa negative (We want to test the people before going to school, work and malls so that we can immediately separate the positive cases from the negative ones),” Ubial added.

For now, the PRC has the capacity of up to 20,000 saliva tests which can expand to 42,000.

According to the agency, saliva testing is cheaper by 50 percent than swab test. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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