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Pay private hospital claims, PhilHealth urged

Malacañang yesterday appealed to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. to pay the claims of private hospitals, emphasizing that failure to do so would “significantly” affect the country’s healthcare system amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after hospitals and physicians organizations announced their decision to disengage from PhilHealth over its circular suspending payments to hospitals and healthcare providers whose claims are under investigation.

“This threat to stop providing services and to disengage from PhilHealth…this has the potential of derailing the Universal Health Care,” he said in a press briefing.

Roque, the primary author of Republic Act 11223, or the Universal Health Care Law in the 17th Congress, reminded the state insurer of their mandate.

“My appeal to the PhilHealth is to pay what needs to be paid. Because as the author of the law, the law intends that the government, through PhilHealth, will become the sole purchaser of all goods and services,” he added.

He emphasized the need for PhilHealth to “cooperate”, noting that a lack of funds is not an acceptable excuse.

“There should be cooperation, PhilHealth needs to pay immediately,” he said.

While he acknowledged that there may be anomalous claims, he said they simply needed to be investigated instead of suspended.

“We cannot implement the Universal Health Care with just the government hospitals, especially with the ongoing pandemic,” he said.

He also questioned why PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran only managed to remove one PhilHealth officer over anomalous claims.

In September 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Gierran to clean up the corruption-tainted PhilHealth before the end of the year.

Gierran, former director of the National Bureau of Investigation, was appointed to head PhilHealth in August 2020.

He replaced Ricardo Morales, who resigned due to health condition.*PNA

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