PhilHealth pays half of debt to Red Cross
A public display sign of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
The STAR/File photo

PhilHealth pays half of debt to Red Cross

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - October 27, 2020 - 7:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has finally settled half of its debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), albeit a day later than expected.

In a statement, PhilHealth said it released Tuesday P500 million as partial payment to the PRC and “will expedite processing of the remaining balance following strict compliance to government accounting rules and regulations.”

While PhilHealth may have settled half of its over P1 billion debt to PRC, screening by the humanitarian organization may not restart soon.

Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon, who also serves as PRC chairman, has said they would not resume testing for COVID-19 if only a portion of PhilHealth’s balance is settled as this would leave them “hanging.”

But PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran said the state health insurer is just being prudent.

“Its prudence in taking charge of its members’ hard-earned contributions is central to the state health insurer. Its exercise of judiciousness is to protect the people and their funds,” Gierran said.

Several problems have cropped up since the PRC decided to halt tests covered by PhilHealth, among them the stranding of thousands of returning overseas Filipino workers who are still quarantined in hotels and cannot go home without a negative result on a coronavirus test.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has said that this has doubled the costs for the government due to the extended stay of returning migrant workers in quarantine hotels.

The stop in testing also led to a three-month low in the country’s daily testing output, with the number of samples processed dropping to just 18,810 on October 18 — the lowest since July 12.

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