Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate the issues hounding the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and private hospitals which stemmed from issuance of a circular that suspends payment claims that are subject to investigation.
Hontiveros is referring to PhilHealth’s Circular No. 2021-0013 which suspends payment of claims that are subject to investigation due to possible fraudulent, unethical acts or abuse of authority for a period of 120 days.
The directive prompted the Private Hospital Association Inc. (PHAPi) and the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) to consider “disengaging” with PhilHealth, prohibiting PhilHealth members “for the meantime” to avail of PhilHealth benefits when they go to member-hospitals.
“The Senate must investigate this because we simply cannot leave the public hanging,” Hontiveros said as she filed Senate Resolution No. 880.
“The temporary suspension of claims may severely impact struggling small hospitals and treatment centers, including healthcare workers who are employed in these facilities,” she said.
“Kung hindi ito maresolba, ang mga Pilipinong manggagawa rin ang lubos na maapektuhan (If this isn’t resolved, it is the Filipino workers who would eventually be affected in the end),” Hontiveros lamented.
Congress, she said, worked hard to pass the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act to ensure that all Filipinos would have access to health services without having to worry about getting financially burdened.
The senator said the current battle against the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for the Senate to thresh out the issues between the private hospitals and health care providers and PhilHealth and ensure uninterrupted health care and social protection for Filipinos.
“We should not allow an impasse during this crucial time of a public health emergency,” said Hontiveros, who co-authored and co-sponsored the UHC Act.