PhilHealth 'abusing' Red Cross help with unpaid COVID tests, Gordon says
A doctor shows the Natch RNA Extractor along with other new machines inside the newly inaugurated molecular laboratory of the Philippine Red Cross at the Port Area in Manila in June 2020.
The STAR/KJ Rosales

PhilHealth 'abusing' Red Cross help with unpaid COVID tests, Gordon says

(Philstar.com) - December 3, 2020 - 11:16am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon on Thursday called out state-run insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for failing to pay the Philippine Red Cross for its coronavirus testing services — an issue that previosuly compelled the Red Cross to cut back on testing.

The Philippine Red Cross resumed testing after partial payment by PhilHealth, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to comment during a national address that the group was "mukhang pera", or only after money.

"It's very unfair that we're the ones put in a bind when it's the government's job [to ensure testing]. We're in a bind because we're helping but our help is being abused. It's not right," Gordon, also Red Cross chairman, told DZBB Super Radyo in Filipino. 

He sounded the alarm over PhilHealth's rising debt, saying that it piles up by the tens of millions each day. 

"Yesterday, I said [they owed] P623 million, now it's risen to P659 million. You know, [the debt] is a moving target. Even if they pay P100 million, if they wait ten days, each day it rises by P30 to P35 million," he said partially in Filipino. 

Gordon said, if it were up to him, PhilHealth would make payments every three days to prevent the debt from increasing so dramatically. 

He also hit the state-run insurer for trying to explain away its delayed payments. 

"I don't understand, they have a lot of excuses, [but] they have all the records, we give them access to our computers for transparency. The bureaucracy should really control that, because they're playing with fire," he said in Filipino and English. 

Gordon further warned that the PRC might be forced to halt its testing services again, which, in October, caused a plunge in overall screening. 

On Wednesday, he told ANC's "Headstart," the he hopes to get the government's debt to down to less than a sixth of where it currently stands. 

“We want to compress it in such way as the original contract, they only owe us a hundred million so we’re not in trouble because right now, we’re dealing with several systems of disasters in Cagayan, Isabela. Before those, there are disasters in Bicol and these are really hard to reach areas and we’re putting in lots of inputs,” Gordon said. — Bella Perez-Rubio 

COVID-19 MASS TESTING NOVEL COROANVIRUS
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