The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is in hot water after a whistleblower revealed that about P15 billion of funds were allegedly pocketed by the executive committee of the state-run health insurer in 2019 alone through fraud.
Lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith made this claim and even called the Philhealth bosses “mafia” who had allegedly been defrauding the organization for the past several years.
Philhealth answered back with an official statement posted on their Facebook Page.
No P15 billion pocketed by senior officials
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) categorically denies in strongest terms that its senior officials have “pocketed” some P15 billion as alleged by Thorsson Keith during the Senate hearing on August 4, 2020. Atty Keith was hired as a job order contractor to do staff work under the Office of the President and is in no position to discuss office matters being in the Corporation for only 9 months. His malicious claims not substantiated by evidence were obviously made to malign officers that rejected his ambitions for higher offices which he is not qualified for.
The fund alluded to by Atty. Keith was the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) that was released to a total of 711 health care facilities to assure efficient response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has never been “favoritism” in the release of these funds as earlier alleged; rather the releases followed existing guidelines.
Contrary to reports that hospitals no longer need to account for these funds, the IRM is governed by government accounting and auditing rules, hence, it is subject to liquidation by its recipients.
The PhilHealth regional offices have been given the flexibility in the timing of liquidations recognizing the situations in each hospital.
It is worthy to note that in recognition of the crucial help that the IRM plays in the fight against Covid-19, the Philippine Hospital Association, in a Statement, expressed their support to its implementation in all levels of hospitals (including infirmaries) to help them to “financially cope with the demands of increasing its capacity to respond to Covid-19”. ##
With increasing debt and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Philhealth is projected to run out of money by 2022, according to acting senior vice president for actuarial services Nerissa Santiago who told the Senate about this on Tuesday, August 4.
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