Press Release
August 4, 2020


Sen. Grace Poe expressed disgust at the spineless and lax leadership of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to stop reported widespread corruption and mismanagement in the agency, which has yet to remit crucial reimbursements to COVID-19 referral hospitals.

"Alam na natin ang mga overpriced na mga procurement...Nilagay diyan si General Morales, clearly, to clean up PhilHealth so that there won't be corruption or lessen it. But when asked about it, he can't even answer off the top of his head kung ano ba ang mga plano niya laban sa korapsyon," Poe said on Tuesday's hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on alleged corruption mess in the state health insurer.

With the nation faced with a health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Poe deplored the incessant allegations of corruption within PhilHealth and complaints that some hospitals were given preferential treatment over the others when it comes to releasing funds.

PhilHealth earlier instituted the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) to make available substantial aid for calamity-related expenses of eligible health care institutions. For the COVID-19 pandemic, a similar IRM circular was issued.

During the hearing, it was disclosed that the program benefitted only some hospitals.

"Hindi nabibigyan ng tamang atensyon ang mga ospital na dapat at 'yung iba naman ay mas nabibigyan ng preferential treatment," she said.

Poe rued that over the years, PhilHealth management appeared to have turned a blind eye on the corruption and mismanagement happening in the agency, which led to a staggering P102 billion in overpayments to some hospitals and P154-billion loss to fraud.

The senator said the amounts could have been used to alleviate the plight of households and businesses suffering from the impact of the pandemic.

"Alam ba ninyo na ang Bayanihan 2 para mabigyan ng ayuda ang ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan ngayon dahil sa COVID-19, para mabigyan ng tulong ang mga maliliit na negosyo at mga nalulugi ngayon ay P140 billion. So, kung ang pera na 'yan ay nagagamit ng tama, napakaraming pwede pa sanang tulungan. Kaya seryoso itong bagay na ito. Hindi lang ito na parang nakikita mo na numero lang. Hindi. Numero ito na nakakaapekto sa buhay ng ating mga kababayan," Poe emphasized.

"Ang nakakatakot pa sa atin na 'yung mismong ahensya na dapat nagpapatupad ng Universal Health Care ay mukhang nawawalan ng pera. Hindi bale kung nagastos sana sa tamang paraan, pero mukhang maraming butas at talagang tumutulo na at nasasayang lang," she said.

Poe made a firm call anew for PhilHealth to reimburse referral hospitals for their expenses related to COVID-19 so they could continue to service Filipinos in need of treatment.

"We urge PhilHealth to immediately settle its obligations to these referral hospitals. As much as we are concerned with the treatment of COVID-19 patients, we also want to guarantee the financial health of hospitals, so that they would not fall into a state of coma," she said.

PhilHealth's Circular No. 2020-0009 states it will shoulder the hospitalization costs of COVID-19 patients according to four categories starting April 15: mild pneumonia, for P43,997; moderate, P143,267; severe, P333,519; and critical pneumonia, P786,384.

Circular No. 2020-0011 which it earlier released mandates the coverage of full hospitalization expenses of COVID-19 patients from Feb. 1 to April 14, 2020.(

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