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Many small private hospitals applied but did not receive IRM from PhilHealth — PHAPI exec

Several private hospitals are left wondering why they have not been prioritized by PhilHealth in the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism which could have helped them better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, an official of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) said Friday.

"Ang medyo napuna namin, sinabi nila na bibigyan nila kami ng IRM sa mga ospital tapos nalaman namin na itong dialysis centers, mga ibang centers na hindi naman nag-aadmit ng COVID patients ay siyang nabigyan," PHAPI Vice President Jose rene De Grano said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

"Marami po sa aming mga miyembro, lalo na ang maliliit na ospital na umaasa sana sa IRM na 'yan ay hindi po nabigyan," he added, recognizing that few private hospitals became beneficiaries.

The IRM provides for advance payments given by PhilHealth to eligible health care institutions that are directly hit by "fortuitous events" so that they could continue servicing the public.

Aside from not being prioritized in the IRM, De Grano lamented PhilHealth's delayed reimbursements of claims in private hospitals.

GMA News Online tried to get the side of PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales but he has yet to reply as of posting time.

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, senators grilled PhilHealth why dialysis and maternity clinics had been prioritized in IRM releases when hospitals catering to COVID-19 patients were left hanging in the air.

PhilHealth officials justified their action.

"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," PhilHealth executive vice president and chief operating officer Arnel De Jesus 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," he added.

PhilHealth senior vice president Rodolfo Del Rosario Jr. also underscored that the notion that IRM covers only COVID-19 expenses is wrong.

"Hindi po totoo 'yun kasi 'yung liquidation natin will involve all disease and the response of PhilHealth is for the whole pandemic," he said. — Dona Magsino/RSJ, GMA News