Press Release
August 5, 2020

Hontiveros: Form anti-overpricing body to end PhilHealth corruption

Senator Risa Hontiveros today urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to convene an anti-overpricing body required by law to ensure greater transparency and cut down corruption and fraud in the state insurer's operations.

Hontiveros said PhilHealth's internal mechanisms for transparency and accountability must be drastically updated and fully enforced so that every peso in the agency is actually used to help Filipinos, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"PhilHealth's failure to fully enforce anti-corruption measures has potentially led to the loss of billions. We must ensure reformations within PhilHealth that will make them worthy of the taxes of the people, especially because of their crucial role in universal healthcare," she said.

To help curb overspending by PhilHealth, Hontiveros said that DOH, PhilHealth and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should immediately convene the Independent Price Negotiation Board, an oversight body mandated by the Universal Health Care Law (RA 11223).

Noting the claims of PhilHealth that they "potentially lost" P10.2 B in 2019 and are projected to lose double in 2020 to fraud and false claims, Hontiveros, an author of the said law, explained that the Independent Price Negotiation Board is empowered to negotiate with suppliers over prices of medical supplies and new technology needed by healthcare providers accredited under the DOH. She said the treatment of COVID-19 can be standardized and better monitored through the board.

"Masisigurado ng anti-overpricing body na standardized ang mga presyo ng mga bibilin nating mga gamot, personal protective equipment o PPE, testing kit, at iba pang mga pangaganilangan laban sa COVID-19. Maiiwasan natin ang over-spending, over-reimbursing, over-funding para pumunta ang pondo diretso sa mga nangangailangan," she said.

"Isa ito sa mga probisyon ng batas na pinabayaan ng DOH, PhilHealth at DTI. PhilHealth must ensure full enforcement of anti-corruption measures so that resources are prepared for those who need it the most, especially in this public health crisis. An oversight of PhilHealth's future spending can prevent the misuse of funds and ensure that records of spending are made transparent to everyone," she said.

"Mahalaga ang papel ng PhilHealth sa paglaban sa pandemya at sa pag-roll out ng Universal Health Care sa bansa. Maraming buhay ang nakataya sa maayos na serbisyo ng PhilHealth, kaya dapat ay gampanan nito ang kanyang responsibilidad at protektahan ang pondo para sa kalusugang pangkalahatan," Hontiveros concluded.

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