The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) last week announced it is stopping all further Covid19 testing for the government due to the alleged refusal of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) to honor its huge outstanding debt.
Philhealth, according to PRC chairman (and Senator) Dick Gordon, still hasn’t settled the P931 million it owes for past Covid tests conducted.
PRC officials claimed it had processed some one million Covid tests as of Oct. 6. The said that some P931 million remains unpaid despite submission of billing statements.
To be adversely affected by this kerfuffle are arriving OFWs, passengers in airports and seaports, various frontline health workers, persons asking for Covid19 testing in government swabbing centers as well as those included in the expanded testing guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH).
Atty. Rodolfo Reyes, PRC corporate secretary, said the test stoppage will stay in effect until the P930-million debt is paid in full.
The PRC’s Covid test fee is P3,500 which is chargeable to Philhealth.
Gordon said the PRC cannot operate without being reimbursed because its test kits, which are being sourced from China, don’t come for free.
Under an earlier memorandum of agreement, Philhealth was supposed to provide a P100-million revolving fund for the testing requirements, but there was never any replenishment made after the initial amount was made thereby forcing the PRC to advance its own funds for the vital service.
(In a televised address last week, President Duterte assured the PRC that the debt racked up by Philhealth will be settled, but didn’t say exactly when.)