The state-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) allegedly owes some P28 billion to 700 private hospitals throughout the country, representing advances for treatment of its members during the past year.
Dr. Jose de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI), the unpaid claims only covers the period from March to December 2021.
He said the Philhealth debt could reach as high as P50 billion if the claims of non-PHAPI members are included.
Other PHAPI officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that demands for reimbursement have remained unheeded by Philhealth – currently headed by former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) chief Dante Gierran – in spite of Malacanang’s order to settle their arrears ASAP.
“At the rate things are going, many hospitals may be forced to close shop to the detriment of thousands of Covid patients, thus jeopardizing the national health program,” they said.
The Philhealth debt is one of the main reasons for the refusal of private hospitals to expand their bed capacity to comply with a directive from the Department of Health (DOH).
In support of the PHAPI, Senator Richard Gordon that as of April 6, 2021, Philhealth’s debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for coronavirus testing services has ballooned to some P880 million.
In this regard, Gordon, who is the PRC chairman, lambasted Philhealth as their refusal to settle their huge outstanding debts would negatively impact on PRC’s operations and humanitarian services.
Gordon warned that the PRC may have to terminate its testing services if Philhealth’s debt level hits P1 billion.
“We will be forced to close the faucet to delinquent Philhealth because we will have to replenish our testing supplies, and we do not have an unlimited source of funds,” he said.
Photo: CNN Philippines