Lacson scores PhilHealth for releasing P45M to unregistered dialysis center
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson scored the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for releasing P45 million in COVID-related funds to a dialysis center, which, he said, was not even registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
During Tuesday’s resumption of the Senate investigation into fresh corruption claims against PhilHealth, Lacson once again brought up the issue of the agency’s interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).
In the previous hearing, Lacson quizzed PhilHealth officials on the allegedly questionable release of P231 million to 48 dialysis centers and four maternity clinics.
The amount was drawn from the P30-billion IRM, which is a special fund intended for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
This time, Lacson questioned why P45 million was released to B Braun Avitum dialysis center, which included P15 million to its branch in Tondo, Manila City.
The senator said he had someone check on the dialysis center’s Tondo branch who later reported to him that the center had no isolation area.
Lacson also noted that B Braun Avitum’s Tondo branch refers clients to Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center to undergo COVID-19 swab tests.
“Wala silang capability mag-conduct ng swab test,” the senator pointed out.
He added that the said branch has a notice for patients informing them that they would have to pay if the period of their admission exceeds the 90 days.
“In-advance n’yo bayad sa B Braun, naniningil sila sa dialysis patients. Saan napunta ang perang binibigay?” Lacson asked PhilHealth officials in the hearing.
The senator also raised that upon checking, there was no recorded registration of B Braun Avitum dialysis center with SEC.
“‘Di ba kayo nagdue-due diligence? Bayad kayo ng bayad, milyun-milyong piso,” he said.
PhilHealth’s Senior Vice President for legal sector Rodolfo del Rosario told senators that funds under the agency’s IRM are not only meant for COVID-19 patients.
“Ang gusto ko lang linawin ‘yung IRM is not only for COVID-19 patients,” he said.
PhilHealth’s corporate legal counsel also denied allegations that the billions of pesos under IRM was pocketed by its officials.
“All the releases have been provided with receipts. IRM was not pocketed by anyone as alleged,” Atty. Roberto Labe Jr. said earlier in the Senate hearing.
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