Philippines

House to scrutinize PhilHealth P14B advanced payments

THE House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts will scrutinize at least P14 billion in advanced payments by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) to hospitals for the treatment of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, Chairman Mike Defensor said on Friday.

“We will examine those payments in detail for any sign of fraud and/or overpayment. We have already asked Philhealth to submit all supporting documents,” said Defensor, also representative of Anakalusugan Party-list.

This is part of the ongoing congressional investigation into the alleged anomalies within the state health insurer.

PhilHealth provides advanced payments or the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism Fund (IRM) as aid to eligible healthcare institutions “directly hit by fortuitous event” such as the Covid-19 pandemic. As of May, PhilHealth has released a total of P13.8 billion to 599 HCIs across the country.

Defensor said that of the released IRM, only P1 billion has been liquidated or supported with documents by hospitals and other healthcare facilities that received advances.

Meanwhile, ACT CIS Party-list Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo wants Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd to be part of the ongoing investigation as chairman of the PhilHealth Board of Directors.

“We want Health Secretary Francisco Duque to come before Congress to be held accountable and liable for the continuing disaster we have come to know by the name PhilHealth,” Tulfo said.

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