After the indictment of executives of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center (WellMed) led by arrested physician-businessman Bryan Sy, the NBI will now turn its fact-finding investigation on other medical establishments that benefited from the same scheme, Guevarra said.
AFP/File
NBI targets more clinics, hospitals in PhilHealth scam
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will run after other hospitals and clinics involved in bogus claims for dialysis treatment paid by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.

After the indictment of executives of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center (WellMed) led by arrested physician-businessman Bryan Sy, the NBI will now turn its fact-finding investigation on other medical establishments that benefited from the same scheme, Guevarra said.

“My directive to the NBI covers not only WellMed but also other clinics and hospitals. After WellMed, the NBI will investigate other suspicious claims,” Guevarra revealed in a text message.

Guevarra said there were other dialysis treatment clinics involved in the scam, which reportedly cost PhilHealth P154 billion in bogus claims.

But he stressed the NBI would need the cooperation of PhilHealth and possible whistleblowers in pursuing its probe.

“Hopefully, the NBI can get the assistance of the new PhilHealth management team,” he said.

On the other hand, a group of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) yesterday feared the scam could trigger an increase in PhilHealth premiums.

Migrante said the recent scam that rocked PhilHealth can be considered a crime against OFWs.

“At this period when many OFW families are battered by the unreasonably high cost of healthcare and all sorts of state exactions, we find it insulting that our hard-earned contributions are getting funneled into the over-bloated pockets of reprobate thieves,” Migrante pointed out.

The public backlash over the scam prompted President Duterte to demand the resignation of PhilHealth officials.

Last week, PhilHealth board members and executives led by president and chief executive officer Roy Ferrer resigned.

The six other PhilHealth Board members who resigned were Jack Arroyo, elected local chief executive; Rex Maria Mendoza, independent director of the Monetary Board; Hildegardes Dineros of the information economy sector; Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna of the Filipino overseas workers sector; Roberto Salvador of the formal economy sector, and Joan Cristine Reina Liban-Lareza of the health care provider sector.

Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles said the President may not accept their resignation until he finds their replacements to avoid a vacuum that may disrupt operations of the state-run health insurer.

“It’s up to the President to make the decision on whether everyone be removed from their posts or not. The primary consideration of the President is PhilHealth cannot have a vacuum so I think we cannot accept everyone’s resignation until their replacements are named,” Nograles told dzBB.

“Otherwise, we would have a vacuum... There might be decisions of the board that we cannot set aside. These decisions cannot be made without the board,” he added.
Pressed if PhilHealth officials would also be charged over the funding of dialysis treatments of patients who have died, Nograles said it would depend on the results of the investigation.

“The investigation is still ongoing. We will know once a case has been filed... There are bodies that have been conducting investigations. These cannot be stopped and the President also has access to the preliminary findings of some of the investigations,” he said.

knowingly participated in this allegedly fraudulent scheme and benefitted from it.”

The NBI filed charges of estafa and falsification of documents against Sy and other officers of WellMed last week.

But the complaint did not include any PhilHealth officials as they even stood as complainant in the charges against Sy and 10 others.

The DOJ indicted Sy last Friday following inquest proceedings conducted by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Anna Noreen Devanadera, who found probable cause in the charges against the respondent.

The Manila Regional Trial Court granted bail for Sy last Saturday.

The NBI later released Sy, a day after the Manila court granted his temporary liberty.

“There are procedures and approvals that need to be followed by the bureau before a detainee could be released. It was only after we received the court order that the approval for the release was endorsed to the agent on case, who in turn endorsed it to deputy director for administrative services Eleanor Rachel Angeles,” NBI public information chief Nick Suarez said.

Sy was arrested last Monday while being interrogated inside the NBI. He questioned his arrest without warrant and sought relief from the Manila regional trial court, which rejected his plea for a writ of habeas corpus. – Alexis Romero, Rey Galupo, Mayen Jaymalin

DIALYSIS NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE CORP.
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with