SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
11 January 2022 04:25:25 PM
The House Committee on Health chaired by Rep. Angelina Tan M.D. (4th District, Quezon), in an online meeting Tuesday, discussed with officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) the latest developments on the agency's reimbursements and payments to hospitals based on its various circulars related to COVID-19 benefit package claims. In her opening remarks, Tan said the meeting was conducted to check on the status of these circulars' implementation due to a resurgence of high COVID-19 cases in the country and reports of private hospitals planning to withdraw from PhilHealth. PhilHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran said that as of January 7, 2022, the agency has already released P12.05 billion to 444 hospitals via the Debit-Credit Payment Method (DCPM). He also stated that the PhilHealth is in constant coordination with hospitals to reconcile their PhilHealth claims data. Meanwhile, PhilHealth Executive Vice President Eli Santos reported that out of 271,587 in-patient COVID-related claims, only 56,524 or 21 percent were paid from January 2020 to January 06, 2022. Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City) questioned PhilHealth officials about the average turnaround time it takes to process COVID-related claims. Quimbo said it is 'unacceptable' that PhilHealth can only process 21 percent within two years and that the agency lacks the complete data on the average number of days it takes to process unpaid claims. “Kasi gusto po naming intindihin kung saan huhugot ang private hospitals. Malaking problema kapag mag-disengage ang lahat ng hospitals. Anong ibig sabihin no'n? Kailangan pumunta ang tao na walang pambayad sa public hospital lang, na hindi kakayanin ng ating public hospital system,” Quimbo said. Gierran assured the panel that the current in-process claims amounting to P25.45-billion would be paid within six months. The panel also tackled and created a Technical Working Group (TWG) to further discuss House Bill 7429 or the “Social Health Insurance Crisis Act of 2020,” authored by Quimbo. She said that HB 7429 aims to allow outsourcing of PhilHealth’s infrastructure services from private sector as well as create an Executive-Legislative Commission to temporarily assist the agency in its reorganization and policy reforms. Quimbo also clarified that the measure does not aim to privatize the country’s national health insurance program. Lastly, Tan reported that the committee has received a total of 1,014 health-related House measures from the beginning of the 18th Congress until December 15, 2021. She said the committee was able to produce Republic Act 11463 or the "Malasakit Centers Act of 2019" and 28 local bills were also signed into law last year. Moreover, the committee approved 124 health-related bills of national significance, which have already been submitted to the Senate. Tan hopes that these measures would be implemented quickly to address not only the current pandemic but also future public health emergencies.