COA OKs special audit of Philhealth funds, disbursements — Drilon
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has agreed on the need for a special audit on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) funds and disbursements, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday.
Drilon said he talked to COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo, whom he said did not oppose his call for a special audit, and even recommended an accurate review of Philhealth.
“I am glad that COA finds merit in our proposal for a special audit of Philhealth considering the gravity of the situation and the consequences if we fail to address the matter with urgency,” Drilon said in a statement.
Drilon also urged Auginaldo to “sit down” with Philhealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales to discuss the conduct of a special audit “to determine the true state of financial health” of the agency.
“They should come up with mechanisms on how to facilitate the special audit and eliminate hindrances that prevent internal auditors from performing their tasks,” he said.
The Senate leader also revealed that Aguinaldo agreed on the need for an “accurate study of the actuarial life of Philhealth,” given that the agency has been operating in an operation loss for the past five years amounting to P26 million.
The COA chair proposed to strengthen the actuarial department in Philhealth, adding that the agency is open to tapping professionals to help COA in its review of Philhealth, Drilon added.
Drilon meanwhile, noted that the COA might face difficulties in accessing relevant information and documents if Philhealth refuses to cooperate.
He noted that COA internal auditors “faced some difficulties before in accessing documents from Philhealth.”
“I urge Philhealth to provide full support to the COA special audit. We all agree that a special audit is something that must be done to determine the true state of financial health of the agency and its viability to cover for medical expenses of millions of all Filipinos in the next 10 years or so,” Drilon said.
Drilon warned that there will be serious consequences, even a “chain reaction,” once Philhealth fails to pay hospitals, particularly public hospitals.
“There will be a chain reaction. The regional hospitals, especially public hospitals, cater to the poor through their maintenance and operating budget. If Philhealth does not reimburse them, the problem will become worse because they will not be able to serve the poor. It is really a very difficult problem,” Drilon said. /muf
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