PhilHealth must fix its problems ASAP
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2019 - 12:00am

I’m always interested in any news that talks about kidneys, after all, I had a kidney transplant two years ago. Then we read that disturbing news that Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) filed administrative cases against WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center in Novaliches, Quezon City last November for misrepresentation and falsification where it was revealed that PhilHealth continued paying for the dialysis treatments of a patient who had died in 2016 after the dialysis center continued filing claims for the “ghost” sessions. It was indeed a disturbing report.

This is why we were glad that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte last Saturday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to arrest and probe the owners of a dialysis facility in Quezon City that allegedly made bogus benefit claims for non-existent kidney treatments. PhilHealth apparently said that there is a move to withdraw the accreditation of the center. It added that payment for all claims filed by the dialysis facility had been suspended as early as of February this year. 

Pres. Duterte also directed the PhilHealth management to pursue criminal charges against those officials and employees who allowed, wittingly or unwittingly, such misuse of funds to take place for years and instructed PhilHealth to submit a detailed report on the irregularities. While PhilHealth has already taken action on the matter, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte wants charges to be pursued against the erring officials. Surely by now PhilHealth employees or the so-called “mafia” inside know that Pres. Duterte abhors corrupt government employees and is determined to weed out government offices of corruption.

Mind you, in fairness to PhilHealth in Region 7, I was given financial support by this agency two years ago when I had my kidney transplant operation at the Vicente Sotto Medical Center (VSMC). I would not have been given such assistance if I had my kidney transplant in a private hospital. It turned out to be a good thing in the sense that I kept writing on my columns about my medical condition so my readers would know more about issues related to kidneys. In the end, the articles I wrote about my kidney transplant became a very important link to many readers who were having kidney problems. So many people need PhilHealth for their dialysis treatments.

Meanwhile, we learned that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has warned all healthcare facilities and health professionals accredited with PhilHealth that they would lose their accreditation if they make fraudulent claims. Sec. Duque said that erring facilities and professionals “stand to lose much” if they engage in nefarious activities, like padding their claims or seeking reimbursement for services they did not render. This should be a warning to all that they should stop these irregularities, which is a criminal act. Incidentally, the Health Secretary assured the public that there are reforms being instituted to protect PhilHealth funds “but the outcomes of these reforms will not be felt immediately.” 

Still on the same issue, PhilHealth president Roy Ferrer said that at least 28 counts of misrepresentation and falsification were filed against WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corp. before the courts. PhilHealth also filed cases against doctors who were possibly involved in such anomaly that occurred since 2016. Ferrer added that “under its present leadership, PhilHealth would not let thievery, in any form, to prosper. Not on my watch.” At this point, we can only hope that PhilHealth would finally put a stop to all  shenanigans within their organization and emphasize to PhilHealth employees that fighting corruption is the pet peeve of no less than Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

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 Last Saturday, I attended the thanksgiving dinner hosted by Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Michael Lloyd Dino for Senator-Elect Bong Go at the Oakridge Executive Club and Business Park in Mandaue City. It was the first time for me to meet the winners of the May 13 election since I was on my three-week vacation to Europe. Of course, when he arrived, I had a selfie with Sen. Elect Bong Go and held a photo session with many winners of that mid-term elections.

By the way, it was also the birthday of Sen. Elect Bong Go and Michael Dino and his staff prepared a birthday cake for him. But speaking in Cebuano, the senator-elect asked that this was a night for him to thank all who supported him and Pres Duterte. But he refused to call it his birthday party because he said, he followed the style of Pres. Duterte who spends his birthday quietly with his family. Indeed, his winning his senatorial bid has not gotten into his head and he went around the Executive Club talking and taking photos with as many people as he could.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

PHILHEALTH SCAM PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE CORP.
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