Rustico Jimenez, president of the 744-member PHAPi, said some members have already partially stopped operations, with only the emergency rooms still open.
Edd Gumban
Over 300 hospitals on verge of closure
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - May 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More than 300 small private hospitals are in danger of closing down due to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic and the failure of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to release insurance claims, the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi) revealed.

Rustico Jimenez, president of the 744-member PHAPi, said some members have already partially stopped operations, with only the emergency rooms still open.

“Among our members, about 50 percent are about to close,” Jimenez said in an interview with “The Chiefs” aired on One News/TV 5 on Wednesday night.

“There are many factors,” he explained. “Number one, there are only a few patients going to non-COVID facilities because they are scared. Coupled with that is the much
delayed payment from PhilHealth.”

Jimenez said only 46 percent of their members have so far received the payment that PhilHealth said it had advanced.

Among the members that have yet to receive payments from PhilHealth are those in Lanao, Iloilo, Bulacan and Batangas, including those affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano in January.

PhilHealth reimbursements, he said, would enable the small hospitals to continue operating amid the impact of the pandemic.

He also expressed hope that more private hospitals in the provinces would be accredited to conduct testing for COVID.

Jimenez said the problem has also set back the government’s immunization program, as parents are afraid to bring their children to hospitals to complete their vaccine shots, which must adhere to a set schedule, while many pediatricians have not been reporting to work.

PHAPi earlier asked President Duterte to replace Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, saying their members “have had enough of the promises” of PhilHealth and the Department of Health.

Duque chairs the PhilHealth board.

In the letter, Jimenez said PhilHealth gave them a runaround when asked about the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM), which provides advance payouts of claims.

“Although some have already received their share, most however are now so financially drained as they are still waiting for the promised IRM,” read the letter.

In the interview with The Chiefs, Jimenez said they stand by their position calling for the replacement of Duque.

“We still insist that he should be replaced,” he said, citing the need for a fresher perspective in dealing with the pandemic.

In his report to Congress on Monday, Duterte said PhilHealth has paid around P37.683 billion in insurance claims for the first five months of the year.

PhilHealth also released P13.276 billion to 562 medical institutions accredited by the agency through its IRM as of May 20, the President added.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC PHAPI
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