Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Saturday the resolution he and his colleagues in the 24-member Senate would be filing on Monday would show that the COVID-19 pandemic has created more opportunities for systemic corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to flourish.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, Lacson, and other senators had earlier agreed to file the resolution to dig deeper into what ails PhilHealth following the recent resignation of a PhilHealth anti-fraud officer, Thorrson Montes Keith, who revealed widespread corruption at the State health insurance agency.
Lacson said the resolution he and Sotto would be filing on Monday would show a ‘’mind-blowing’’ incidents of corruption at PhilHealth Regions 5 (Bicol) and 8 (Eastern Visayas), and other cases of corruption.
Corruption in PhilHealth seems to have become the rule rather than the exception, he added.
He said the recipients of PhilHealth largesse at the two regions are not accredited hospitals.
Lacson cited as example the newly instituted Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) purportedly to support the national government’s response to the COVID-19 threat by giving PhilHealth the authority to provide special privilege in the form of substantial aid to “eligible” Health Care Institutions (HCIs).
‘’This new malevolent scheme led to the release of hundreds of millions of pesos in record time of one or two weeks, to a few unaccredited hospitals that register only one COVID-19 patient,’’ Lacson said.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate National Defense and Security Committee, said these anomalous incidents took place at Region 5 and Region 8 where the hospitals are not even accredited or are under investigation.
He said PhilHealth released P207 million to Region 5 in a matter of two weeks while it released P196 million to Region 8 in a matter of one week.
He said one of the regions had only one COVID-19 patient.
What is appalling is that there are many hospitals with many COVID-19 patients in other regions begging for reimbursements from PhilHealth, he added.