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Roque questions PhilHealth’s payments to hospitals in areas with low number of COVID-19 cases

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday questioned the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) allocation of funds to reimburse claims of accredited hospitals across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview on Dobol B sa News TV, Roque said that he obtained a document showing that PhilHealth allocated P300 million each for hospitals in the Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas even if these areas have relatively low infection numbers.

Roque believes the funds should have gone to COVID-19-related expenses of hospitals in Metro Manila and Cebu — areas with a high number of cases.

“Bakit hindi ninyo binigay sa Region VII, sa Cebu na malalaki ang kaso. Bakit hindi ninyo ibigay sa Metro Manila, alam naman na natin kung saan ang epicenter. Bakit nagbigay kayo ng P300 million sa mga lugar na kakaunti lang ang kaso ng COVID?” he said.

GMA News Online has asked PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales for comment but he has yet to respond as of posting time.

But in an earlier statement responding to accusation of "widespread corruption" in the agency by a resigned officer, PhilHealth spokesperson Gigi Domingo said the agency does not tolerate corruption.

"The Corporation assures the public that it takes seriously any issue of corruption," she said as she asked Thorrsson Montes Keith, the resigned anti-fraud officer, "to substantiate his accusations so proper procedures can be initiated."

PhilHealth utilizes its interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) worth P30 billion in order to provide health care providers with the much needed liquidity to adequately respond to the threat of COVID-19.

Last week, the state health insurer announced that the second wave of financial support will benefit hospitals in high COVID-19 concentration areas such as Metro Manila, Regions III, IV and VII where bed capacity either reached full capacity or in critical levels. —KBK, GMA News