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PhilHealth's IRM funds 95% liquidated, Gierran says

PhilHealth has already liquidated 95% of the P14.9 billion advanced payments to hospitals and other health facilities through its controversial interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM), according to its president, Dante Gierran, on Tuesday.

Gierran made the remark during a Senate health panel hearing led by Senator Christopher "Bong" Go.

"Ang IRM ngayon is 95% liquidated na. The original amount that was disbursed to 711 facilities, meaning hospitals, was P14.9 billion. And as of the latest, ang na-liquidate na ay P14.2 billion. Ibig sabihin that is already 95% liquidated," Gierran told the panel.

The PhilHealth chief said they are targeting to liquidate 100% of the IRM funds by the end of the month.

"We would like to assure the good chairman that we will liquidate this fully in due time, hopefully before the end of March this year," he said.

The IRM is a system where PhilHealth pays hospitals and healthcare facilities in advance for insurance claims, to ensure that they could function during times of crisis.

Specifically, PhilHealth defines the IRM as "a special privilege for the provision of substantial aid to an eligible Health Care Institution directly hit by fortuitous event with clear and apparent intent to continuously operate and/or rebuild the HCI in order to provide continuous health care services to adversely affected Filipinos."

However, throughout the course of the congressional investigations last year, it was found that IRM funds were also transferred to dialysis centers, infirmaries, and maternity centers even as they could not be considered as responding to "fortuitous" events.

PhilHealth has since suspended its IRM system "to review its overall implementation and resolve issues arising from congressional inquiries."

Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith has claimed that the PhilHealth "mafia," composed of the executive committee, stole some P15 billion through fraudulent schemes, including those involving the IRM.

PhilHealth has denied such claims. —KBK, GMA News