By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The University of Santo Tomas Hospital (USTH) apologized to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) after saying that the P180 million that the state insurer owes them was partly to blame for their financial losses.
USTH Acting Medical Director Marcellus Francis Ramirez said in a letter addressed to PhilHealth officials that it was not their intention to put the state-owned agency “on the spot.”
He also said that they were only trying to “emphasize the financial challenges that the institution is undergoing” that led to the retrenchment of “non-crucial” USTH workers.
Ramirez then blamed the Varsitarian, UST’s official student publication, for highlighting PhilHealth’s unpaid reimbursements as one of the causes of their financial woes.
“The hospital statement was a reply to repeated questions of the Varsitarian regarding the manpower reduction strategies which involved certain employees and it was an explanation that emphasizes the financial challenges that the institution is undergoing in order to air the side of the hospital in this issue. The original statement in fact also included unpaid receivables from promissory notes and HMOs,” he explained in a letter dated May 5.
“Unfortunately, the news publication [hyped up] the Philhealth reimbursements. Obviously, this has been blown out of proportion,” he added.
He went on to explain that the basis for the P180-million figure includes the unpaid reimbursements of hospital expenses in 2019, including Return-to-Hospital and in-process claims. This was the same explanation he gave to the Varsitarian in an earlier statement.
Ricardo Morales, PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer, earlier denied that they owed USTH that amount and said there was no basis for their claims.
In his May 5 letter, the hospital director said they are “continuously reconciling” their data with that of PhilHealth’s, but also noted that the state insurer’s numbers “do not seem to harmonize” with their record.
He also acknowledged receipt of over an P85 million advanced reimbursement from the state-owned agency.
In a related development, the head of the Filipino Dominicans put the retrenchment order on hold and said it will be subject to review by UST Board of Trustees on May 20.