PhilHealth ‘careful’ in paying hospital claims: Duterte - TrueID

PhilHealth ‘careful’ in paying hospital claims: Duterte

Philippine News AgencyAugust 31, 2021

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte 

MANILA – The state-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is supposedly taking “too long” to pay hospital claims because president and CEO Dante Gierran wanted to be “careful” to avoid more issues from hounding the state insurer.

President Rodrigo Duterte made this statement amid criticism over PhilHealth’s pace in processing unpaid claims which resulted in the closure of some hospitals and affected hospitals' manpower amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Duterte said he called Gierran to explain why there were delays in the payment of hospital claims.

“Tinanong ko siya, pinatawag ko, ‘Bakit mahina ka?’ Sabi niya, ‘Alam mo kasi ang trabaho na ito sir, papel ito, resibo ng mga medisina, resibo ng bayaran, resibo ng admission, resibo ng pag-alis ng ospital, pag exit. Sabi niya, ‘I have to be careful’ (I asked him, I called him over ‘Why are you so weak?’ He said, ‘You know this job sir involves receipts of medicines, admissions, discharges in hospitals’. He said ‘I have to be careful’),” Duterte said.

He said Gierran noted that the PhilHealth “cannot move faster” because he does not want to be accused of irregularities.

Citing PhilHealth spokesperson Dr. Shirley Domingo, Duterte said working on a skeletal force due to the pandemic also made it more difficult to process unpaid claims.

He sought patience from those criticizing PhilHealth as well as the Department of Health (DOH).

“Kindly consider the reduced manpower of the departments. Huwag ninyong apurahin kasi hindi ninyo maapura ‘yan. Mabuti sana kung tumutulong kayo diyan (Don’t rush them because you can’t. It’s good if you’re helping them at all),” he said.

Hospitals earlier threatened to disengage with PhilHealth by not renewing their accreditation next year should the agency enforce a controversial circular suspending the payment of hospital claims.

Last week, Gierran said PhilHealth owes hospitals a total of PHP21.1 billion worth of unpaid claims.

He also turned emotional over criticism thrown at him and his agency, saying his friends and family were also affected by them.

Meanwhile, Duterte also gave a recap of the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) release of PHP311.79 million for the special risk allowance (SRA) of public and private healthcare workers in the country.

Healthcare workers groups have been vocal on the non-release of SRAs, even threatening to hold mass resignations.

Duterte earlier ordered the DBM and DOH to pay the delayed allowances to front-liners within 10 days. (PNA)

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