P15 B ‘missing’ PhilHealth fund not stolen but used for COVID patients

Published January 28, 2021, 10:58 AM

by Analou de Vera

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) said that the alleged missing fund of P15 billion was not stolen but was used to “servicing patients” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) (MANILA BULLETIN)

“The P15 billion went to the hospitals, partner facilities of PhilHealth, 711 in all nationwide, and these funds were used to ensure that they are kept open and servicing our patients who will be affected by the pandemic,” said PhilHealth spokesman Rey Balena in an interview over ANC on Thursday.

“These are all properly accounted for and in fact 92 percent of the said fund had already been liquidated and that is about P13.8 billion in all,” he added.

Balena said the P15 billion fund was not stolen as alleged by former PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer Thorsson Montes Keith.

“It wasn’t stolen because the fact that the hospitals received them, the fact that the hospitals were able to use these funds for their services to our patients, and the fact that they are reporting this back to PhilHealth in the form of liquidation, these are proofs that the funds are not stolen,” he said.

Balena said the full liquidation of funds is expected to be completed by February.

“Perhaps by the middle of next month or before the end of next month, we will be reporting to the public a 100 percent liquidation,” he said.

“We have given the hospitals some leeway in submitting their liquidation given the situation, the constraints that they are facing,” he added.

The PhilHealth spokesman said that they are scrutinizing the different hospital claims that are being submitted to them.

“We are looking at each and every claim that the hospitals are submitting to us and if ever we will be able to see cases of padding, upcasing, or upgrading of these claims, then it is a usual process for PhilHealth to look at these claims and we will investigate,” he said.

“If the hospitals will be found guilty of these violations, they will be meted with the corresponding penalty,” he added.