PRRD orders PhilHealth to pay hospital claims: Roque

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) President Dante Gierran to pay the claims of private hospitals as soon as possible, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Duterte gave the directive, as he acknowledged that the government could not afford to lose private hospitals, especially amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online press briefing.

“Inulit ni Presidente ang kautusan niya kay Atty. Gierran, bayaran niya nang bayaran dahil sa panahon ng pandemya (The President reiterated his directive to Atty. Gierran to pay the hospitals’ claims because amid the pandemic), we cannot afford to lose the cooperation of the private hospitals,” Roque said.

Hospital groups have threatened to cut ties with PhilHealth following the state insurer’s decision to suspend the reimbursement of claims to medical institutions under investigation for fraud.

Roque said Duterte has ordered PhilHealth to address the issue with private hospitals whose contribution amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is significant since “60 percent to 70 percent” of health services come from them.

PhilHealth has issued Circular 2021-0013, ordering the suspension of payment of claims of hospitals and healthcare institutions that are subject of investigations for “fraud, unethical acts, and/or abuse of authority.”

Medical professionals have claimed that the issuance of PhilHealth’s circular has no basis and only seeks to further delay the payment of claims.

Prioritizing front-liners

Meantime, Roque reiterated that protecting the medical front-liners’ welfare amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic remains the top priority of Duterte.

Roque issued the statement, after the Alliance of Health Workers gave the Department of Health until Aug. 31 to release the special risk allowance (SRA) and other benefits of health workers before its members go on strike.

“Sa mula’t mula po binibigyan ng prayoridad ng Presidente ang pagbibigay ng mga benepisyo para sa ating mga front-liners. So siya na po ang nagbigay ng taning (From the very start, the President is prioritizing the release of benefits for our front-liners. So he already set a deadline), no ifs, no buts. The SRAs and everything else that the health workers are entitled to should be released within 10 days,” he said.

On Thursday, the DOH said the special allotment release order for the PHP311 million-worth of Special Risk Allowance (SRA) for health care workers had been downloaded to its Centers for Health Development (CHDs) by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The fund will benefit an additional 20,208 healthcare workers.

In a statement, the DOH said the funds transferred to the CHDs would then be released to their respective local government units (LGUs) and private health facilities in the next few days.

The release is the first batch of fund transfers for the grant of SRA to hospitals and health facilities that have earlier submitted an additional list of eligible health care workers.

Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), medical front-liners are entitled to get SRA and hazard pay, on top of their usual benefits under existing laws.

On June 1 this year, Duterte signed Administrative Order (AO) 42, which grants SRA of up to PHP5,000 per month to private and public health workers with direct exposure to Covid-19 patients. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency