House summons reps of 45 hospitals

A JOINT House panel on Tuesday summoned the representatives of 45 hospitals that allegedly have pending cases with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) from 2013 to 2018.

The House committee on public accounts and on good government and public accountability called on the representatives of the hospitals to shed light into the multibillion-peso corruption allegations that rocked the PhilHealth.

Members of the joint panel expressed belief that some PhilHealth officials are in connivance with some hospital personnel after Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, chairman of the House committee on public accounts, on Monday bared that the state agency extended P1.49-billion to some hospitals under the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) despite pending cases.

“Gusto kong ipatawag yung mga hospital na may existing violation from 2013 to 2019,” Defensor told the hybrid joint hearing Tuesday.

Defensor underscored the importance for the hospitals’ representatives to attend the joint probe, stressing many of the hospitals have 10 fraud cases each while only one has two cases.

“Fraud, to my mind, is committed with the hospitals. We have to understand how it’s being done. For example, in pneumonia cases, there should be X-ray. What if there’s already a connivance and the patient will not be required to undergo it (while it will still be charged to PhilHealth)?” Defensor told reporters.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, president of National Unity Party (NUP), said the joint panel should also find out if the hospitals have also received funds from the fraudulent IRM scheme of PhilHealth.

“Dapat alamin din kung bukod sa mga kasong kinakaharap ng mga nabanggit na hospital ay binigyan din ang mga ito ng IRM funds,” said Barzaga.

The 45 hospitals are different from the 51 hospitals that are facing cases of fraud after receiving IRM funds worth P1.4 billion.

Earlier, Barzaga questioned PhilHealth’s policy that included dialysis procedures in the P27 billion that the agency allocated for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.

“We want to know the nature of the cases and understand how fraud is committed in Philhealth,” Defensor said.