Funds allocated for Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act must be checked to make sure that these are being spent properly before its full implementation, said Senator Sonny Angara, who also noted with dismay the various scams hounding the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
As one of the authors of the UHC, Angara fumed at recent reports of how a dialysis center was making fraudulent claims from PhilHealth for patients suffering from kidney disease.
“At mukhang hindi lang ito ang problema dahil marami nang mga lumabas na iba pang scams gamit ang pondo ng PhilHealth,” the seasoned legislator said.
“Funds that are intended for the poor should be protected.”
The veteran lawmaker has filed a resolution seeking a probe into all the allegations of fraudulent medical claims to PhilHealth because “funds that are intended for the poor and for those who are in actual need of medical assistance should be protected.”
“We want to get to the bottom of all these reported scams, identify the personalities behind them, and come up with policies to prevent similar cases from taking place in the future,” the senator said.
“Managot ang dapat managot. Hindi natin hahayaan ang patuloy na pagwawaldas ng pera habang ang dami natin mga kababayan na namamatay dahil sa walang pera para magpagamot,” added the senator, who as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, worked for the passage of the bill increasing the excise tax on tobacco products, the proceeds of which would provide funding for the UHC.
Congress recently approved the bill that will raise the excise tax on tobacco, heated tobacco and vapor products in order to cover for the budgetary gaps for the full implementation of the UHC. A total of P257 billion is needed for the first year of implementation alone.
“PhilHealth has lost a total of P154 billion since 2013 due to scams.”
It was reported that PhilHealth has lost a total of P154 billion since 2013 due to these scams, the latest of which involved the ‘ghost’ dialysis treatments.
The scam was uncovered after former employees of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Corp. based in Novaliches, Quezon City, came out as whistleblowers regarding the alleged fraudulent claims made by their former employer to PhilHealth.
They noted that WellMed collected claims from PhilHealth funds for dialysis treatments of patients who were not able to avail of their weekly sessions and even for those who are already dead.
The dialysis center was able to exploit the system owing to the fact that PhilHealth relied only on the monitoring and reporting of their accredited health care providers on the status of their patients receiving medical services.