PhilHealth still owes Iloilo hospitals P493 million | Inquirer News
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PhilHealth still owes Iloilo hospitals P493 million

/ 05:06 AM November 11, 2021

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Seven private hospitals in Iloilo City have called on Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to settle the bulk of their unpaid claims amounting to more than P493 million.

In a Nov. 5 letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, PhilHealth board chair, the hospital chiefs said they were now “being pushed [into] a corner” to pursue their plan to discontinue their accreditation with the agency next year.

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“We cannot continue to operate with depleted financial resources caused by your nonpayment of our claims,” they said.

‘Failure’

The letter was signed by heads of Iloilo Mission Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo, Iloilo Doctors’ Hospital, Medicus Medical Center, The Medical City of Iloilo, Qualimed Hospital Iloilo, and Metro Iloilo Hospital and Medical Center Inc.

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The hospital officials said a reconciliation process conducted with the PhilHealth Western Visayas office to settle the claims by the end of October had failed, with only an average of 15.52 percent of obligations paid.

As of Aug. 31, the hospitals’ receivables reached P586,791,693.56 but only P92,834,862.62 were paid as of last month, resulting in a balance of nearly P494 million.

“It is therefore clear … that there is a failure on the part of (PhilHealth) … to settle the payables with us. We can see it from here that we will be facing the same scenario in the future,” the hospital officials said.

They said they were waiting for actions to be taken by the PhilHealth central office based on the recommendations submitted by lawyer Valerie Anne Hollero, the agency’s regional vice president.

Among these was the removal of the 60-day period to file claims, which was the basis for the denial of most of the claims.

In letters to Duque and PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran sent in September, officials of the seven Iloilo hospitals had warned that they would cut off accreditation with the agency if it would fail to settle the claims.

Long overdue payments

They said the “long overdue payments” had significantly affected their operations and financial viability.

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“We have to deal with operating expenses, purchases of medical supplies and equipment, payment of utilities, and more importantly the salaries of nurses, medical technologists … and other hospital staff who have been placed under tremendous stress and seemingly unending duress as they have been dealing with the pandemic and the daily influx of COVID-19 patients,” they said.

The Iloilo City government earlier filed administrative and criminal complaints against PhilHealth officials in Western Visayas for their alleged failure to settle claims of nine private and government hospitals, and the city government-run Uswag Molecular Laboratory amounting to P932 million.

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