Malacañang has called on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to hasten the payment of claims made by hospitals to ensure their continued operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued the reminder to PhilHealth president Dante Gierran to avoid delayed reimbursements given the crucial role of hospitals in the pandemic response, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
Gierran received Medialdea’s message loud and clear and has promised to ensure prompt payment to the hospitals.
“Nag-meeting pa po kami, tatlong oras kasama po si Executive Secretary at si Senator Bong Go at isa sa mga pinag-meeting-an natin ay iyon ngang sa PhilHealth at nangako naman po si Director Gierran na bibilisan niya iyong proseso (We had a meeting for three hours with Executive Secretary and Senator Bong Go and one of the agenda of the meeting was PhilHealth. Director Gierran pledged to hasten the process),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday April 5.
“Malinaw po ang sinabi lalo na ni Executive Secretary Medialdea – sa panahon ng pandemya, kinakailangan bilisan ang pagbabayad sa mga pribadong ospital dahil 70% pa rin ng ating health care capacity ay nasa kamay ng mga pribadong hospital (Executive Secretary Medialdea’s statement was clear. During the pandemic, payment to private hospitals must be hastened because 70 percent of our health care capacity are in the hands of the private hospitals),” he said.
Roque cautioned about the adverse consequence if the country’s hospitals will run out of funds.
“At kung walang pondo ang mga pribadong hospital, wala rin silang kakayahan na gamutin ang mga nagkakasakit. At tinanggap naman po iyang mensahe na iyan ni Atty. Gierran (And if the private hospitals have no funds, they won’t have the capacity to treat the sick. That message was accepted by Atty. Gierran),” he added.
Roque noted that the proposed financial aid of state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to PhilHealth has already been rejected by Gierran.
“Kasi mayroon nga pong nagsasabi na dapat tanggapin iyong proposal ng DBP na magbi-bills purchase ‘no or babayaran ng DBP ang mga pagkakautang ng PhilHealth tapos kukuha ng reimbursement sa PhilHealth (Some say PhilHealth should accept the DBP proposal on bills’ purchase or DBP will shoulder the obligations of PhilHealth, which will then ask reimbursement from PhilHealth),” he said.
“Ang naging posisyon po ni Director Gierran kung kumpleto naman ang papeles eh bakit kinakailangan pang umutang sa DBP. So pinagbibigyan po natin ang PhilHealth sa gusto nilang mangyari (The position of Director Gierran is if the paperwork is complete, why the need to borrow from DBP. So we are giving PhilHealth a chance to do what it wants),” he said.
The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines recently asked PhilHealth to settle its obligations with member hospitals after some facilities were forced to downsize operations to curb expenses. The group claimed that state firm owed the hospitals around P6 billion.
PhilHealth, however, clarified that a total of P25 billion worth of claims were already settled with member hospitals last year. Around 5 percent of the claims were being processed while 8 percent were either denied or returned to the hospitals due to supposed deficiencies or violations of policies.