2 former PhilHealth insiders tag doctors, hospitals, banks in scam
MANILA, Philippines — Two individuals formerly connected with Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) tagged corrupt physicians, hospitals and banks in fraudulent schemes over several years, the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force PhilHealth said on Saturday.
Undersecretary Markk Perete, spokesperson for the Department of Justice, did not identify the two resource persons nor specify their claims because it was only the task force’s first hearing and member agencies are still conducting their respective investigations and audits.
But the schemes, according to Perete, included the payment of false or fraudulent claims against the corporation, malversation of premiums, and the exploitation by some unscrupulous personalities of the case rate system and the interim reimbursement mechanism, among others.
The resource persons also confirmed earlier claims that abuses and flaws in PhilHealth’s legal department and information technology office enabled the proliferation of the schemes, Perete said.
Perete said that participating agencies in the task force also reported the investigations currently pending with them, and undertook to expedite the completion of their work with the assistance of the task force.
They also agreed to harmonize efforts in the lifestyle checks currently underway and to be conducted by the different offices and agencies, Perete said.
The task force was convened by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra upon the orders of President Duterte. Its members include the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Anti-Money Laundering Council, National Bureau of Investigation and National Prosecution Service.
Guevarra, on the other hand, said the task force would also initiate fresh investigations on alleged anomalies that were not the subject of any ongoing investigation or audit.
“We’ll focus on identified centers of fraud and certain regional PhilHealth offices that have been notorious for years,” Guevarra replied to a query via Viber.
“We’ll collaborate with the legislative committees conducting probes in aid of legislation to speed up our work and avoid unnecessary duplication, so that we may take legal action immediately,” he said.
Guevarra also disclosed that the lifestyle checks on previous and current PhilHealth officials, whose names have been repeatedly mentioned by witnesses and resource persons during congressional hearings, have begun and would eventually be tied up with the antifraud and antigraft investigations.
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