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Palace: Nothing irregular in PhilHealth’s payments to Davao City-based SPMC

Malacañang on Wednesday defended the payments made by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) to cover expenses for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

It was revealed during the Senate inquiry on Tuesday on the alleged PhilHealth anomalies that SPMC received P326 million—the biggest amount of compensation among the funds received by hospitals in the country—under the state insurer’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM).

SPMC is located in Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

“We find nothing irregular in the PhilHealth IRM allocation of SPMC,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Citing data from the Department of Health, Roque said the SPMC is the biggest government hospital in the country with 1,500 beds and almost 3,600 personnel. He said the hospital’s admissions stood at 76,586 last year while there were 586,278 outpatients.

“SPMC also has the highest PhilHealth income, breaking the billion mark.  Its average income for 2018-2019 is P1.2 billion and IRM is based on the monthly average or the track record of reimbursement for 2018-19,” Roque said.

“Historically, SPMC has had the biggest amount of claims due to its regular provision of healthcare services to patients all over Mindanao.”

PhilHealth said last month that IRM releases were based on the historical claims of hospitals, and undergo a process of application, evaluation, validation and recommendation at the level of the PhilHealth regional offices, and approval at its head office in Manila.

The state insurer also denied allegations that PhilHealth Senior Vice President for Fund Management Sector Renato Limsiaco Jr. favored certain hospitals or quickly released the IRM in record time. — BM, GMA News