Red Cross stops PhilHealth-funded COVID-19 testing over insurer’s P930-M debt
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has announced that it has ceased conducting COVID-19 tests chargeable to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) due to the insurer’s inability to settle its “ever-increasing outstanding balance” currently standing over P930 million.
Narito ang opisyal na pahayag ng Philippine Red Cross ukol sa pagtigil ng pagsasagawa ng mga PhilHealth-funded COVID19 tests.#PRCLifelineOfThePeople#COVID19PH
“[A]s the PRC continues to face challenges with PhilHealth due to its inability to settle its ever-increasing outstanding balance to the PRC, we are constrained to cease conducting tests chargeable to PhilHealth effective today, 14 October 2020,” the PRC said in a statement dated Wednesday.
The PRC statement also read that the organization shall complete the testing of the specimen submitted to them up to 11:59 p.m. of Wednesday.
After Oct. 14, the PRC said that it would no longer receive specimens for testing of the following:
• Overseas Filipino Workers
• Those arriving in airports and seaports
• Individuals through the mega swabbing facilities and through the local government units
• Frontline health and government workers,
• Others included in the expanded testing guidelines of the Department of Health
Meanwhile, the PRC added that it would continue to do COVID-19 testing on the following:
• Individuals who booked their screening through PRC helpline 1158 or book.redcross1158.com
• Private companies and organizations
• Local government units or other government agencies with laboratory testing agreements with the PRC or those whose payments are up to date.
According to the PRC, the decision to stop testing stemmed from the state health insurer’s debt to the organization totaling P993.99 million.
“True to its humanitarian nature, the PRC made its nationwide network of molecular test laboratories (MTL) available to the government agencies to test its front liners, returning residents and other priority cases. The PRC entered into an agreement with PhilHealth for the latter to reimburse the PRC for these priority tests requested by various government agencies,” the PRC said.
“Unfortunately, PhilHealth failed to meet its obligations,” the PRC added. “As a result, the total billings sent by the PRC to PhilHealth stand at P1,014,975,500 as of Oct. 13, 2020. Of this amount, P930,993,000,000 represents overdue amounts.”
The decision to stop the COVID-19 testing remains until PhilHealth settles its outstanding balance, the PRC said.
PhilHealth was previously hounded with allegations of widespread corruption. The state health insurer’s resigned anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith exposed in a Senate hearing that about P15 billion of PhilHealth’s funds went to a so-called syndicate within the agency.
Several of PhilHealth’s officers, including former president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales, were slapped with administrative charges. [ac]
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