Photo shows WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center in Quezon City.
The STAR/Boy Santos
21 PhilHealth officials face raps over WellMed accreditation
( - August 28, 2019 - 4:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation has filed criminal cases against 21 officials and employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for approving the accreditation of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center despite allegations of fraudulent kidney treatments.

The 21 PhilHealth employees and officials were accused before the Department of Justice of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the National Health Insurance Act of 2013 and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

NBI’s Anti-Graft Division found the officials and employees—mostly from PhilHealth National Capital Region Office’s accreditation sub-committee—accredited WellMed in 2019 despite probes conducted by PhilHealth’s fact-finding and investigation department into the alleged "ghost" claims.

NBI said the PhilHealth’s accreditation department also failed to withdraw the accreditation of the controversial dialysis and laboratory center.

The investigation of NBI-AGD also found those who were charged violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for giving “unwarranted benefits” to WellMed.

“The fact that the accreditation extended to WellMed despite the lacking document, the failure of the [PhilHealth Regional Office] NCR to establish its integrity and the payment of claims gave unwarranted benefits to WellMed,” NBI said in its statement.

The bureau added PhilHealth NCR did not conduct periodic monitoring of WellMed as required by the National Health Insurance Act.

Early this month, a Quezon City court dismissed the estafa charges against WellMed owner Brian Sy and former employees of the clinic who became whistleblowers in the “ghost dialysis” controversy for lack of jurisdiction.

The court said the cases should have been filed before a metropolitan court or a first-level court but also stressed the dismissal over jurisdiction does not touch on the respondents' guilt or innocence. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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