Senator Grace Poe on Friday, April 23, urged the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) not to delay its reimbursements to hospitals.
Citing repeated pleas from hospital organizations awaiting due payments from the state health insurer, Poe said hospitals should not be made to wait any longer “as they struggle to protect and save lives amid the pandemic”.
“This situation weighs heavily on our medical frontliners, patients, and the most vulnerable among our people. ‘Wag na natin silang pahirapan pa, antagal na nilang nagsasakripisyo at nagtitiis (Let’s not make them suffer anymore, they have long been sacrificing in and enduring the pandemic),” Poe said in a statement.
“Our hospitals are already bleeding while our medical frontliners put their lives on the line amid the systemic ills that affect our overall capacity to get back on our feet,” she lamented.
The senator issued the appeal as she cited calls from the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) for the PhilHealth to reimburse them for their costs they incurred for treating COVID-19 patients.
An ABS-CBN News report quoted PHAPI president Jose de Grano as saying that the amount of their reimbursement applications with the PhilHealth amounts between P26 billion to P28 billion as of December, 2020.
The amount was only an “extrapolation” from their 114 hospital-members which submitted their claims, excluding private health institutions outside Metro Manila, De Grano said. The group has 700 members nationwide.
Poe added that even government COVID-19 frontline institutions have been “having a hard time” claiming their reimbursements due to tedious documentation technicalities.
She reminded the PhilHealth that under the Office of the President’s Administrative Order No. 23 dated February 21, 2020, all national government agencies are directed to hasten the reform of their processes in order to eliminate overregulation.
They shall retain only such steps, procedures and requirements as may be necessary to fulfill their legal mandates and policy objectives. All processes in excess, including those which are redundant or burdensome to the public shall be deemed manifestation of overregulation and shall be removed accordingly.
Poe recalled that President Duterte himself has ordered the state insurer to expedite reimbursing hospital claims.
“We must assist our frontline healthcare institutions in the same efficacious way that our people expect them to diligently attend to their patients,” she said.
Amid the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, five regions have reported high intensive care unit (ICU) bed utilization rates. The Department of Health (DOH) last Wednesday classified the situation as high and critical risk.