Advances to maternity and dialysis centers illegal -- Duque

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III today admitted that cash advances by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to maternity clinics and dialysis centers such as B. Braun Avitum under the controversial Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) are illegal.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

This was one of the questions fielded by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, vice chairman of the Senate Committee of the Whole, to Duque on various questionable deals or purchases by PhilHealth which reportedly might go bankrupt next year.

Lacson said the definition by PhilHealth of its Circular Number 2020-2007 is that IRM is for "fortuitous events" only.

He said that even if one reads the circular for weeks, the circular still does not state that the term ‘’fortuitous events’’ covers the dialysis centers and maternity care because these two centers fall under regular benefit claims of PhilHealth.

When Lacson asked whether it its illegal for PhilHealth to give B. Braun Avitum cash advances under the IRM, Duque replied in the affirmative.

Duque, ex officio chairman of the PhilHealth board, promised to rectify this.