Red Cross to PhilHealth: Settle P571 million debt
PRC chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said while PhilHealth was paying them P100 million every 10 days for the COVID-19 tests the PRC was conducting for Filipinos, the organization was experiencing difficulties in funding.
Joven Cagande, File

Red Cross to PhilHealth: Settle P571 million debt

Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - November 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) yesterday said the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) must settle its remaining debt of P571 million, after the humanitarian organization secured test kits from China for COVID-19 testing operations in the country.

PRC chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said while PhilHealth was paying them P100 million every 10 days for the COVID-19 tests the PRC was conducting for Filipinos, the organization was experiencing difficulties in funding.

“Yesterday, our supply of test kits arrived. It reached P200 million, and P2 million alone for delivery from China,” Gordon said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

“We’re hoping that if we can ask (PhilHealth), they should close this gap in their debt,” he added.

Red Cross earlier halted the testing it was doing for the government due to the more than P1 billion debt incurred by PhilHealth. The tests resumed in October after the state insurer paid half of its debt.

PhilHealth’s outstanding balance, as said in previous instances by the Red Cross, had prevented the organization from procuring test kits and deprived them of resources needed to operate its 21 testing laboratories in the country, which have been conducting the lion’s share of the country’s COVID-19 testing.

The PRC’s negotiations with China, meanwhile, had resulted in cheaper test kits. Gordon said starting Dec. 1, testing would be at P3,409, and the PRC was looking to make it cheaper by P100.

“We can lower it to P3,300 so they can test more people,” Gordon said.

For walk-in patients, Gordon said testing would be at P3,800 from the previous rate of P4,000. But for patients who need to get their results faster, it would be more costly as “they would be allowed to cut in line for testing.”

As of Nov. 29, the PRC has tested over one million people in its molecular laboratories all over the country, which could run 44,000 tests a day in total.

“The lowering of prices would give way to more Filipinos to afford Covid-19 testing and would help stop the spread of the virus,” said Gordon.

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