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House probe of PhilHealth’s COVID-19 ‘scams’ pushed

A group of party-list lawmakers have filed a resolution calling for an investigation in the House Representatives of alleged anomalies in the distribution of funds by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) intended to help its members cope with the coronavirus health crisis.

House Resolution No. 1074, filed by the Bayan Muna party-list, urged the House committee on government enterprises and privatization to scrutinize the supposed irregularities in the releases of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) Fund and “other corruption related cases” in PhilHealth.

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“In the light that the Philippines is combating the pandemic, and the Executive [branch] repeatedly claims that the Philippines [is] short of funds, it is utterly unacceptable to the Filipino to hear from PhilHealth that it has limited available funds to combat the pandemic when through its [advisories], it provided millions of pesos to unaccredited [health care providers],” the resolution read in part.

The resolution was filed by Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat.

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Under the IRM guidelines, eligible health-care institutions (HCIs) are supposedly given 90 days of advance payments based on its average reimbursements per day paid by PhilHealth in 2019, supposedly upon the assessment of a regional validation team attesting that the HCI has been hit by a fortuitous event.

Same PhilHealth ‘mafia’

The resolution questioned why PhilHealth supposedly released P11.7 million to an unaccredited hospital in Davao del Sur in April, and another P9.6 million to another hospital in Samar province a month earlier.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Friday said members of the so-called mafia in PhilHealth who were identified in last year’s Senate inquiry into the “ghost” dialysis patients racket were also behind the latest corruption scandal hounding the state insurer.

“It is revolting to see the PhilHealth mafia very much active and still in control of the already depleted resources of the agency,” Lacson told the Inquirer in a Viber message.

Lacson made the remarks in reaction to the Inquirer report on the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) and PhilHealth’s resident auditors that the official records of the state-run insurance corporation may have been altered to hide its real financial standing.

The senator had also seen the COA reports, prompting him and Senate President Vicente Sotto III to file a resolution to launch a Senate probe next week on the alleged persistent anomalies in PhilHealth.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19 anomaly, COVID-19 Philippines, investigation, Philhealth, PhilHealth fund, Scam
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