Hontiveros seeks probe into ‘ghost’ dialysis paid by PhilHealth
MANILA, Philippines — The government should immediately probe the alleged misuse of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) funds for bogus kidney dialysis treatments, Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged Thursday.
The Akbayan lawmaker, who is vice chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, said this after an investigative report of the Inquirer bared the alleged fraudulent scheme of a clinic in Novaliches, Quezon City, WellMed Dialysis & Laboratory Center Corp. (WellMed). Edwin Roberto, a former employee of the center, said WellMed continued asking PhilHealth for dialysis payments even after their patients had already passed away.
Roberto further said the clinic had filed and collected claims for dialysis treatment not only for dead persons but also for actual living patients who had not completed their treatments. The scheme, according to him, also involves claiming payments from PhilHealth under the dialysis package even when a different treatment had been performed. PhilHealth apparently continued to pay without checking the claims.
“We cannot allow fraud and greed to impede the effective delivery of health services to the people,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
Hontiveros, a board member of Philhealth from 2014 to 2015, said that if the allegations are true, then the ghost dialysis scheme not only “defrauds funds from government, but also deprives countless Filipinos of the chance to avail of free treatments which may improve their health, if not save their lives.”
She added that the cases of fraud and abuse of the government’s health insurance system must be fixed before the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Act.
“The funds under our national health insurance program are supposed to empower our people especially the poor and bring them closer to affordable and effective healthcare. Any misuse of these funds is a betrayal of this vital mission, and must be stopped,” Hontiveros underscored.
A lawmaker from the lower House, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, is also calling for a congressional probe into the issue. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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