Poe warns Philhealth, DBM: Pay hospitals, health workers now or face Senate probe

Published August 3, 2021, 12:51 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday, August 3, told the officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) not to wait for the Senate to investigate them over the delay in the reimbursements and release of the benefits for hospitals and health workers.

Senator Grace Poe (Office of Sen. Grace Poe/MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

Poe issued the warning as she noted the surge in COVID-19 cases due to the more contagious Delta variant, and the resulting reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“We’ve been in this trying situation for over a year and both the DBM and PhilHealth have last year’s experience to draw from to improve their services in the next round of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” Poe said in a statement.

“We must do our utmost for the health sector and ensure that our medical frontliners and hospitals are paid to enable them to look after the sick and save lives. For as long as this isn’t done, our situation will just drag on. Huwag na nating paabutin pa ng season 10 ang ECQ (Let’s not wait for a Season 10 of the ECQ),” she pointed out.

“Don’t wait for [the] Senate to investigate,” her statement read.

Poe stressed that healthcare workers and hospitals have been serving without let-up since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite the billions of pesos allocated for frontliners under the Bayanihan laws, health workers have protested that they have to receive their special risk allowances and other benefits.

Last May, hospitals lamented the reimbursements still not paid by PhilHealth, saying they were forced to use their savings or loans to continue to finance their operations.

“With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, our hospitals must be adequately staffed and stocked with the needed supplies. They can only do so if they themselves aren’t bleeding. We ought not to exacerbate an already tenuous situation by demoralizing our medical frontliners,” Poe said.

The NCR will again be placed under ECQ starting August 6 until August 20 as authorities hope to control the spread of the Delta variant.

Poe reiterated her call to the government to ensure adequate assistance for Metro Manila residents who will be displaced by the reimposition of the strictest quarantine classification.