COVID-19 packages, other benefits to pursue as part of review of PhilHealth’s suspended cash assistance program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) – Members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation need not worry as they could still enjoy the agency’s benefits, an official said on Friday, fearing that the provision of services could be cut off due to the review. cash assistance program course suspended for health care providers. .

“Tuloy tuloy parin po ang pagbigay natin ng benefits on COVID-19 – in patient, testing and community isolation packages, pati ang ating regular benefits,” PhilHealth spokesperson Shirley Domingo told CNN Philippines Balitaan.

[Translation: We continuously provide regular benefits, including the COVID-19 packages.]

PhilHealth on Thursday announced the suspension of its controversial multi-billion cash advance program for healthcare facilities reeling from the COVID-19 crisis, known as the Interim Repayment Mechanism. The IRM funds are intended to help healthcare providers secure cash flow as they are currently suffering from high operating costs due to the pandemic, Domingo said. PhilHealth officials said earlier that it released 14.9 billion yen in cash advances, but only 2.4 billion yen had been liquidated.

The suspension stems from Senators’ call for a review of the advance payment system, as issues of favoritism, unfair distribution and liquidation were raised in the last two Senate hearings.

Domingo expressed hope they would fix the issues in two weeks, but later admitted that resolution could take more than 14 days.

In one of the legislative inquiries, an executive who resigned from the company claimed that senior officials pocketed IRM funds. PhilHealth denied the charge.

Lawmakers raised the possibility of favoritism over IRM releases, but PhilHealth officials denied the allegation, saying they were following existing rules and regulations on providing cash advances.

Senators and House officials stressed that some facilities, including those that accept COVID-19 patients, have yet to receive their share of the funds, months after the start of the crisis. Meanwhile, some facilities got their MRI scans first even though they didn’t address coronavirus concerns, fueling suspicion of corruption. But PhilHealth argued that all facilities, whether or not caring for COVID-19 patients, need financial help during these difficult times.

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