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Red Cross most likely halting COVID tests over PhilHealth's unpaid dues

PhilHealth anomalies Philippine Red Cross

The Philippine Red Cross is "most likely" to suspend its COVID-19 testing after the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation failed to pay its remaining balances to the organization, its chairman and CEO, Senator Richard Gordon, said Saturday.

In a radio interview, Gordon said the PRC will discontinue conducting COVID-19 tests to those whose payments will be charged to PhilHealth until it pays its balances, which now amounts to P700.5 million.

“Aabot na sa isang bilyon[g piso] ang utang ng PhilHealth sa Red Cross. Pagkatapos nilang magbigay ng advanced payment na P100 million noon, paunti-unti na lang ang pagbabayad nila," he said.

"Hindi naman pupuwedeng ganoon dahil kailangan din namin ng pambili ng materials para sa testing at pambayad sa mga tao. Kung hindi sila makapagbabayad hanggang Monday, ititigil muna namin ang testing,” he added.

According to Gordon, PhilHealth's failure to settle its balances will prevent the PRC from being able to order the test kits it needs to replenish its supplies. Hence, the organization will be forced to stop its operations in its testing center in Manila.

At the same time, the PRC will not be able to open its newly-constructed laboratories in Bacolod, Zamboanga, and Cagayan De Oro City, he added.

“How can we operate if we do not have enough test kits and we do not have money to pay our med techs and other staff?" Gordon said.

"We have been totally cooperative in all aspects but we cannot afford to continue if the government, particularly PhilHealth, continues to fail to pay for their lawful obligations,” he added.

Gordon said he already got in touch with concerned government officials, and has been calling on PhilHealth to immediately act on the matter.

“These delays and foot dragging by PhilHealth have been going on from day one of the contract. We sincerely hope, for our people's sake, that the government will see its way clear in resolving this unwanted crisis immediately,” he said.

Despite the issue with PhilHealth, Gordon said PRC will still accommodate individuals who want to get tested for COVID-19 and will pay for their swab tests. —LBG, GMA News