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Amid ‘ghost’ dialysis mess, PhilHealth to hire fraud probers and lawyers

/ 07:25 PM June 06, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Thursday said they will be hiring investigators and lawyers amid the controversy hounding the agency in connection with its alleged payments of so-called “ghost” dialysis treatments.

Dr. Shirley Domingo, PhilHealth Spokesperson and Vice President for Corporate Affairs, said the move is aimed at strengthening the agency’s legal department.

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“We need more lawyers and we need more investigators. Our board has recently approved additional 130 positions for our legal system and around 13 lawyer positions,” Domingo said in an interview over radio station DZMM.

Domingo also belied claims that PhilHealth punishes very few violators.

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“Marami na rin po ang aming na-fine na healthcare provider kasi kami po, within the corporation, iyan po ang nagagawa namin. Mare-revoke ang accreditation, masu-suspend ang accreditation – either revoke or suspend or i-fine po namin,” Domingo said.

An Inquirer investigative report published Thursday revealed that a Quezon City-based kidney treatment center continuously claimed payments from PhilHealth for dialysis purportedly administered to patients. But those patients were said to be already deceased.

READ: PhilHealth pays for ghost kidney treatments

PhilHealth acting president and CEO Dr. Roy Ferrer, however, said they have been acting on the case since last year. In fact, he noted, PhilHealth has already filed 28 administrative complaints against the dialysis center.

“In relation to this case, the corporation has filed 28 counts of administrative claims for non-admitted treated patients, misrepresentations by furnishing false or incorrect information, and breach of warranties of accreditations and performance commitment against the mentioned dialysis center,” Ferrer said.

PhilHealth Senior Vice President Israel Francis Pargas added that payment of all claims being filed by the dialysis center has been suspended since February.

“There’s already a move to withdraw the accreditation and we’re just awaiting of the results of the cases that were filed against the particular facility. But we also have provided a suspension of payment of all claims being filed by the particular hospital since February,” Pargas said. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)

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