De Lima slams PhilHealth, DOH failure to release payments to hospitals, healthcare workers


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima bewailed continued failure by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Department of Health (DOH) to release payments to accredited hospitals and healthcare workers.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, reiterated the need for the Congress to investigate the recurring and longstanding issue which poses threats to DOH and PhilHealth’s capacity to provide essential health services to the public.

“What’s wrong with DOH and PhilHealth? Are they that callous or inept in their continued failure to provide legally-mandated payments to HCWs and hospitals?” stated De Lima on her Twitter account.

“We cannot ignore serious allegations of mismanagement which affects hospitals and healthcare professionals, which are relied upon by our country as we continue to battle a pandemic,” she added in a separate statement.

Recently, seven hospitals in Iloilo City reportedly said they will not renew their accreditation with the PhilHealth starting Jan. 1 next year over unpaid reimbursement claims, saying such claims amounted to a “staggering” P545,094,532.45 as of Aug. 31.

“Unfortunately, our hospitals cannot continue to operate with depleted financial resources caused by non-payment of our claims by PhilHealth,” the advisory from the hospitals said.

What is more alarming, De Lima said, is that more hospitals are reportedly eyeing disengagement from PhilHealth too.

“If this happens, more members of PhilHealth who need assistance from the agency will be adversely affected. If left unaddressed, this can ultimately affect the overall service delivery of the health sector,” she said.

“Hindi pwedeng sa panahon ng pandemya, na magdadalawang taon nang lubusang nakakaapekto sa atin, ay pinuputakti pa rin ng anomalya at palyadong sistema ang gobyerno lalo na sa sektor ng kalusugan, kabilang na itong usapin sa pondo ng PhilHealth na marami nating kababayan ang umaasa,” she added.

Notably, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi) president Jose Rene de Grano said more hospitals in General Santos, Quezon province, Isabela and Metro Manila are expected to disengage from PhilHealth.

It may be recalled that as early as October 24, 2019, PHAPi revealed PhilHealth’s failure to settle its financial obligations to its members and notified the government that these hospitals may cut off their PhilHealth accreditation due to unpaid financial obligations of the state’s firm.

Last year, De Lima filed Proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 461 urging her colleagues to investigate the alleged failure of the PhilHealth to release insurance claims to its accredited hospitals.

In August this year, she also filed Proposed SR No. 859 urging Congress to investigate the “very concerning” findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the DOH’s mismanagement of the budget for COVID-19 response, to ensure that those responsible be held accountable. (30)

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