Hontiveros urges DOH, PhilHealth to form anti-overpricing body
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to convene a law-mandated anti-overpricing body following a P15 billion fraud scandal.
The opposition senator said that PhilHealth’s internal mechanism for transparency and accountability should be drastically updated and fully enforced.
“PhilHealth’s failure to fully enforce anti-corruption measures has potentially led to the loss of billions. We must ensure reformations within PhilHealth that will make them worthy of the taxes of the people, especially because of their crucial role in universal healthcare,” said Hontiveros in a statement.
The DOH, PhilHealth, and Department of Trade and Industry, Hontiveros said, should immediately convene the Independent Price Negotiation Board, which is an oversight body created through the Universal Health Care Law or Republic Act 11223.
Hontiveros claimed that the Independent Price Negotiation Board is empowered to negotiate with suppliers over prices of medical supplies and new technology that healthcare workers need.
She added that COVID-19 treatment should be standardized and better monitored through the board.
“Masisigurado ng anti-overpricing body na standardized ang mga presyo ng mga bibilin nating mga gamot, personal protective equipment o PPE, testing kit, at iba pang mga pangaganilangan laban sa COVID-19. Maiiwasan natin ang over-spending, over-reimbursing, over-funding para pumunta ang pondo diretso sa mga nangangailangan,” said Hontiveros.
(The anti-overpricing body can make sure that there’s a standardized price for the medicines, personal protective equipment, testing kits, and other needed equipment against COVID-19. We can prevent over-spending, over-reimbursing, over-funding so that the funds will go directly to those that need it.)
“PhilHealth must ensure full enforcement of anti-corruption measures so that resources are prepared for those who need it the most, especially in this public health crisis. An oversight of PhilHealth’s future spending can prevent the misuse of funds and ensure that records of spending are made transparent to everyone.”
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