MANILA – According to Senator Teofisto Guingona III, the Senate blue ribbon committee is already preparing to investigate on the alleged P2-billion Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) fraudulent ‘benefit payments’ given to several hospitals and clinics.
Of the P2-billion PhilHealth funds released, P325 million were ‘suspiciously’ spent on two eye care centers solely for cataract procedures. This, among other reports, raised red flags to the Senate.
“We endeavor to give Filipinos not only greater access to health care, but also increase PhilHealth benefits. Questionable practices and actions of health care service providers are detrimental to the integrity and sustainability of PhilHealth,” Guingona said in an official statement released.
The Senator, who was also the chairman of the health committee, was disturbed by some claims that numerous PhilHealth members were unnecessarily operated on hospitals and clinics. He pointed out that some of these operations were even detrimental to the patients.
“If found true, this is a matter of national concern. It is criminal to misappropriate funds that are actually needed by other patients. But to endanger the lives of Filipinos as a means to eat through PhilHealth’s funds is beyond deplorable,” he said.
“We are therefore conducting an inquiry on this matter to ensure that Philhealth, as the country’s premier health insurance provider, would have adequate policing mechanisms that will promote transparency and accountability among health care providers,” he added.
Last year, PhilHealth increased its members’ monthly premium contributions. For those with a salary base of P8,000, they were required to pay P200 monthly. For those with a salary of P35,000 and up, they were required to pay P875 monthly.
The Senate also probed the increase and sought to find if the increases were reasonable.