Lacson blasts alleged PhilHealth’s ‘favoritism’

Published August 12, 2020, 11:08 AM

by Mario Casayuran

The case of private hospitals getting interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) to the prejudice of public hospitals in Eastern Samar is a clear case of favoritism practiced by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  infections.

This was revealed Tuesday by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson during the in-person and virtual public hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on alleged systemic corruption at PhilHealth.

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson

Lacson, vice chairman of the Committee of the Whole, said Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone complained to him why 10 district community hospitals in his province were not given P24 million in IRM but four private hospitals were given P21.4 million needed in treating COVID-19 patients.

Ebardone, also a former congressman, said he is sad that although his province is poor, yet it could not be given preference in the queue for PhilHealth financial assistance.

‘’There’s a pattern here, bakit ganoon nangyayari, parang may favoritism sa pagpili sa level 1 private hospitals na nakatanggap ng IRM funds P21.5 million. Bakit inuna ng Philhealth ma-release ang private hospitals na level 1 to the disadvantage of 10 government hospitals in Eastern Visayas?’’ Lacson asked. (There seems to be favoritism in choosing at level 1 hospitals that they received P21.5 million in IRM. Why did PhilHealth release the IRM to level 1 private hospitals to the disadvantage of 10 government hospitals in Eastern Visayas?)

After quizzing retired Brigadier General Ricardo Morales, PhilHealth president and chief executive officer (CEO) during yesterday’s public hearing, Senator Richard J. Gordon said: ‘’We need to overhaul the system, or at the very least, reshuffle and remove vice-presidents and officials if found guilty.’’

Gordon said it is very clear that there should be heads to roll at PhilHeatlh as an aftermath of the revelation of widespread corruption at PhilHealth.

‘’Ang tao nagagalit na dahil lagi nalang sila naghihintay. We have to fix the problem now!’’ he added. (People are angry because they have been waiting.)

Morales agreed with Gordon that there should be a board of supervisors at PhilHealth to oversee its operations.

Officers or members of such board could come from the country’s top taxpayers, according to Gordon.  

Morales also agreed with Gordon that PhilHealth requires a sweeping reshuffle ‘’at the very least.’’