Philhealth CEO warns private hospitals who threaten to cut ties

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2019 11:44 AM | Updated as of Oct 24 2019 03:01 PM

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MANILA - A Philippine Health Insurance Corporation official believes the threat by a group of private hospitals to cut ties with Philhealth threatens all Filipinos who need medical attention.

"It would disenfranchise our citizens who need medical attention. This is actually a threat against all Filipinos who will be needing medical attention. This is not against PhilHealth," PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales told ANC's Headstart.

Rustico Jimenez, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi), earlier warned hundreds of private hospitals are threatening not to renew their accreditation with PhilHealth due to unpaid claims.

Morales, however, said they are in touch with hospitals that are PHAPi members.

"I think it's uncalled for. This thinly-veiled threat I think is a figment of his imagination. The hospitals are run by responsible people and we are in touch with them and they didn't mention anything about cutting ties with PhilHealth," Morales said.

He added that even those hospitals that they have suspended are working to restore their accreditation.

He likewise denied that PhilHealth has not been paying around P2.5 billion in reimbursements to these hospitals.

"That's only a week's expenditure for PhilHealth. This is not a large amount for us. We have paid about P81-billion. Some of these checks (are) ready to be picked up," he claimed.
 
Morales said PhilHealth is only trying to "err on the side of caution" following the "ghost claims" scandal involving a dialysis center, which is why it is taking more time to settle claims.

"We want to be careful. We have contacted these hospitals directly and we are working with them. We are sending our teams, our IT people, to work out an arrangement so that we can pay them sooner," he said.

PhilHealth has suspended the accreditation of two hospitals, the Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center and Allah Valley Medical Specialist Center Incorporated based in Koronadal City, South Cotabato allegedly due to fraudulent activities.

"I have talked to their medical directors and we have worked an arrangement so that these hospitals could continue accepting PhilHealth patients but the specific procedure that is suspected of fraud are temporarily suspended," he said.

They likewise suspended 5 professionals and withdraw accreditation for 7 others.

"These are all doctors. The offenses vary--upcasing, misrepresentation, various violations. If the evidence supports it, we will have to file charges," he said.