VSMMC execs rapped on PhilHealth sharing
Michael Vencynth H. Braga and May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - July 5, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The executive committee of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) is facing complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas over the alleged irregularity in the sharing scheme of the proceeds derived from Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

VSMMC medical director Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., chairman of the EXECOM; Dr. Antonio Roque Paradela (chief of clinics); Dr. Celia Mabalatan (chief training officer); Maricon Esparagoza (chief administrative officer); Maureen Bien (Finance Department head); and Sarah Sanchez (chief nurse) were named respondents in the complaint filed by the concerned hospital staff, who refused to be identified.

The complainants questioned the legality of the amendments allegedly introduced by the hospital officials to an administrative order of the Department of Health. The amendments were allegedly disadvantageous to the employees.

Under Administrative Order 42 issued by DOH on August 2, 2001, all DOH-retained and renationalized hospitals are mandated to create "common" fund where the professional fees for services rendered to Medicare patients will be pooled and distributed among hospital workers.

This covers all hospital workers, whether full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, casual, contractual, or from the medical pool, whether medical or non-medical.

The complainants noted that the professional fees paid to the health care institution (HCI) are pooled by the HCI and divided on a 70 percent share going to the HCI to be used in improving the delivery of quality health services thru purchase of new medical equipment and quality drugs, and the remaining 30 percent to the doctors and non-medical personnel for services rendered.

As to the 30 percent, it is further divided between the medical and non-medical personnel on an equal basis- 50 percent is distributed among the doctors and the remaining 50 percent given to non-medical personnel.

Instead of following the sharing scheme, the hospital officials allegedly revised the memorandum and issued a resolution so they could get a certain percentage from the 30 percent, the employees stated in their complaint.

They added that they have no knowledge as to what percentage the officials derived from the 30 percent.

"It is to our much regret that the EXECOM has never been transparent to the employees as to the amount of common funds for a particular quarter, how much was the return to the hospital, how much is being shared by the employees and the method of sharing," they lamented.

 They said the hospital officials received bigger shares than the employees as a result of the amendment. They further learned that the non-medical group received P22,000 each, the medical group got P66,000 each, while each EXECOM members and medical center chief received P220, 000 and P250,000, respectively, for the third quarter this  year.

"Is it lawful for the EXECOM to change the standard Philhealth sharing scheme without informing or consulting us, hospital employees, prior to its implementation? Isn't it a grave abuse of authority?" the complainants asked.

The employees asked the Ombudsman to investigate the alleged overpricing in the purchase of hospital equipment, saying that the hospital only has one supplier despite the bidding process required by law.

"This practice of overpricing and contractor monopoly is glaring sign of corruption and is a common knowledge in VSMMC only that most of the employees are afraid to complain because of the vindictive attitude of the medical center chief and the EXECOM members," they said.

VSMMC is a government-owned tertiary level hospital that caters to the Visayas and Mindanao patients, who are mostly insured by PhilHealth.

Sought for comment, VSMMC spokesperson Eleodoro Mongaya Jr. told The Freeman yesterday that no similar complaint had reached the head of the hospital when he checked the office of Aquino.

He also sent local reporters yesterday a brief statement via e-mail indicating an assurance that the complaint, just like the previous ones, will be ironed out.

"As of this time, VSMMC has yet to receive the official complaint from the Ombudsman, but, VSMMC have previously received similar complaints filed [before] the Ombudsman and has been resolved," read the statement.  (FREEMAN)


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