SENATE TO PROBE SUSPICIOUS
P2 BILLION PHILHEALTH SCAM
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair, recently announced that the body is set to investigate reports regarding an alleged scam involving some P2 billion in Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) funds.
The planned Senate probe follows a disclosure by Health Secretary Janette Garin and PhilHealth President Alex Padilla that they have uncovered “highly suspicious” benefit payments to a number of accredited hospitals and clinics based on questionable claims.
The said health officials earlier bared that they are investigating a number of eye centers in the wake of the questionable claims. They bared that one eye center alone had filed claims of close to P170 million last year, a 143 percent increase to what the clinic charged PhilHealth the previous year.
The health officials said PhilHealth has ordered that the processing of the questionable claims be stopped pending investigation.
Senator Guingona filed a resolution for the investigation of the allegations by the Senate. The resolution has been referred to the Senate Committee which he also chairs.
He said the alleged scam “is alarming” and calls for quick action on the part of government and PhilHealth officials.
“We must get down to the bottom of these right away to ensure that the funds of PhilHealth are protected from unscrupulous parties,” Senator Guingona said.
He said he is “angered” by what appears to be “an orchestrated and systematic effort to take advantage of PhilHealth”. “If the allegations are true, then greed would have taken over a good program,” he said.
“At the end of the day, PhilHealth funds are the people’s money,” Senator Guingona explained. “This is because part of its funds come from members’ contributions and from government,” he pointed out.
He said he was also concerned that private sector hospitals and clinics are being implicated in the alleged scam.
“This puts in peril the partnership of the government and the private sector in the bid to provide quality healthcare to our countrymen,” Senator Guingona added.
He said the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will begin the probe on July 1, 2015.
He said all the parties involved in the issue “will be given the opportunity to present their side.” /MP