Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) clarified Saturday that the cash advance system under the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) does cover not only COVID-19 patients but also healthcare institutions’ (HCIs) overall response to the pandemic.
PhilHealth spokesperson Shirley Domingo said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV that there was “no favoritism” in disbursing IRMs to HCIs.
“In the first place, IRM is not only for COVID patients but for overall COVID response. It’s not only for payment of COVID patients’ [benefits],” Domingo said.
“Kasi doon kami tinitira… Bakit may IRM eh wala naman daw COVID patients [because that’s where they attack us, on why is there IRM when there are no COVID patients],” she said.
According to PhilHealth IRM is “a special privilege for the provision of substantial aid to an eligible Health Care Institution (HCI) directly hit by fortuitous event with clear and apparent intent to continuously operate and/or rebuild the HCI in order to provide continuous health care services to adversely affected Filipinos.”
Officials learned during a Senate hearing that a huge chunk of the said funds was given to dialysis centers and hospitals where there is low to no high number of COVID-19 cases.
Commission on Audit’s (COA) records showed PhilHealth only liquidated P1 billion of the P14 billion IRM fund it released amid the COVID-19 crisis.
PhilHealth IRM alleged anomalies
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier revealed PhilHealth gave more than P200 million worth of funds to hospitals treating only one COVID-19 patient each.
Lacson said in a radio interview over AM radio station DWIZ that one hospital is located in Eastern Visayas, and one is in Bicol.
The Senator added PhilHealth released P247 million to Bicol and P196 million to Eastern Visayas in just one week.
Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri also bared PhilHealth released P10 million to Golingay General Hospital in Malalag town, Davao del Sur. The hospital has no COVID-19 cases. The facility was an 18-bed infirmary which was allegedly among the top seven highest-paid hospitals in the Davao region for pneumonia claims in previous years.
(PhilHealth) announced it suspended the implementation of its Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) amid the investigation on alleged anomalies in the state insurer.