Friday, July 24, 2020

Controversial PhilHealth meeting ended with deal to set aside personal matters - Go

The controversial meeting between Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) officials which supposedly led to threats of resignation due to rampant corruption within the agency ended well, a senator present in the said discussions said.

According to Senator Bong Go, who chairs the Senate committee on health, the meeting ended with officials vowing to set aside personal matters and instead focusing on how to properly implement the Universal Healthcare (UHC) Law.

“Natapos ang meeting with an agreement na sa panahon ngayon ay isasantabi muna ang mga personal na hidwaan upang mabigyang importansya ang kapakanan, interes at buhay ng mga Pilipino,” Go said in a statement on Friday.

“Uunahin muna ngayon kung paano masigurong maiimplementa ang UHC Law, mapopondohan ang mga programang pangkalusugan, at mapagseserbisyuhan ang mga nangangailangan sa panahon ng pandemya,” he added.

Go’s explanation came a day after sources told reporters that a PhilHealth meeting has gone awry when corruption allegations were revealed, prompting at least three officials including an anti-fraud officer to resign.

PhilHealth earlier confirmed that one of its officials resigned, noting that they are taking corruption accusations seriously.

Go said that he was invited to join the meeting, as he also co-chairs the joint oversight committee on the UHC Law.  He also confirmed that a shouting match ensued, confirming what sources said on Thursday.

“Kaya kami nakipagpulong kasama ang mga government finance managers upang matugunan ang mga hinaharap na suliranin ng PhilHealth para maimplementa ng maayos ang UHC law lalo na’t may krisis tayong hinaharap,” Go said.

“Isa rin sa napag-usapan sa meeting ay ang mga problema sa PhilHealth management at ang mga akusasyon ng korapsyon na nangyayari […] Naging mainit ang usapan, nagkahamunan pa ng resignation, pero civil at productive pa rin naman ang diskusyon,” he added.

PhilHealth has been rocked with various corruption issues in the past, including a scandal that broke apart last June 2019 where some PhilHealth officials supposedly created a scheme where patients continue to receive payoffs for dialysis treatment even if they are already dead.

Then later that month, Health Secretary Francisco Duque found himself under fire after it was revealed that a PhilHealth provincial office in Pangasinan was allowed to rent land belonging to his family.

PhilHealth also drew flak from the public after hospitals claimed that they are forced to layoff some employees amid the pandemic as the government-controlled corporation has yet to pay the claims it should shoulder.

The corporation countered, saying that they have been paying hospitals properly.

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