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PhilHealth explains why dialysis, maternity clinics covered by IRM for COVID relief

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on Tuesday explained why dialysis and maternity clinics were beneficiaries of the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) which was meant for the response against COVID-19.

During the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing, Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned why billions of pesos of the IRM were released to dialysis and maternity clinics, while COVID centers have yet to receive reimbursement claims.

According to Lacson, dialysis center operator Braun Avitum Philippines Inc. received P45.176 million from April 23 to May 5, while the Ospital ng Maynila has yet to receive P19.382 million.

"This is the reason why we are gathered here again to conduct this inquiry. Not only in aid of legislation but more importantly, in aid of the more than 104 million members and dependents of PhilHealth as well as all the taxpayers of this country," he said.

In response, PhilHealth executive vice president and chief operating officer Arnel De Jesus said the IRM can also cover the dialysis and maternity centers.

"Ang purpose po ng IRM and the way it was designed is to respond to the pandemic. In this case, nationwide, and it affects not just the Level 1, 2, 3 hospital pati na po 'yung ibang klase ng facilities including maternity care at tsaka 'yung mga dialysis," he said.

"Kasi po lahat ng 'yan ay may tuloy-tuloy na pasyente, kasi po nga ang response ng IRM is to continuously provide the funds," added De Jesus.

This was echoed by PhilHealth senior vice president Rodolfo Del Rosario, Jr. who said that the IRM can also cover other health facilities aside from COVID-19 services.

"We have the notion that the IRM is only for reimbursement for COVID expenses... Hindi po totoo 'yun kasi 'yung liquidation natin will involve all disease and the response of PhilHealth is for the whole pandemic," he said.

"It is an official assistance to all hospitals and healthcare providers that will need help in this time of pandemic. Hindi lang po mga ospital na merong COVID 'yung apektado ng COVID," he added.

For his part, PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales said the reimbursement claims of the Ospital ng Maynila have already been released as of June. —KBK, GMA News