Gordon to look into amendments to avert health scams

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Richard J. Gordon said Friday he is looking into the possibility of amending laws to obviate similar health scams from being perpetrated in the wake of the multi-million peso “ghost dialysis” controversy that rocked the Philippine Health Insurance Company (PhilHealth).

Senator Richard Gordon (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Richard Gordon (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gordon said he was completely devastated because the very officials of the PhilHealth themselves are in collusion with unscrupulous health providers to embezzle funds from the health corporation.

He expressed apprehension that a similar scandal might rock the Universal Health Care (UHC) program which would be funded from the recently approved Sin Tax bill.

READ MORE:  'Ghost dialysis' blamed on corruption at Philhealth

“I’m completely devastated by this. The Congress of the Republic of the Philippines recently passed the Sin tax bill, which will fund the Universal Health Care, now we’re seeing our own people are cheating. To me that is very serious,’’ he said.

‘’There’s something wrong there. Have we lost our moral compass?’’ he asked.

‘’Biruin mo 90 sessions lang ng dialysis ang sagot ng PhilHealth, yung iba babayaran na nila. Tapos nanakawan mo pa, kawawa naman ang mga tao,” he bewailed. (PhilHealth pay for the 90 sessions a dialysis patients undergo after which they succeeding sessions would be paid by the patients. You still steal from this fund? Pity the patients.)’’

As chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Gordon said the perpetrators must be held accountable for a higher degree of due diligence and penalties, adding, though, that to be fair to the present PhilHealth officials, a lot of investigations have been made even in the past such as the cataract scam.

Gordon is not immediately leaping into an investigation into the controversy as he is still to see where President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s actions would lead to.

“It’s important that we look into that (amending laws). I will religiously look at what’s going on. I’m not immediately jumping into an investigation because I’m still waiting where the President’s actions, which have been good so far, will go. I’m glad the President immediately acted by having Sy (Bryan Sy, owner and vice president of WellMed Dialysis Center) and the other one arrested,” he said.

Aside from having Sy arrested, Duterte also ordered PhilHealth president Roy Ferrer and PhilHealth’s board members to submit their courtesy resignations in the wake of the multi-million peso ghost kidney treatments.

Gordon, head of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) also underscored the importance of checking the integrity of people or organizations wanting to open up a dialysis center because a dialysis center is not a purely for profit business.

“It is not supposedly a purely for profit enterprise. There’s got to be responsibility in running a dialysis system. The PRC has put up one and I’m very, very careful about it,” he said.