Gov't to run after corrupt health providers, PhilHealth officials – Duque

MANILA, Philippines – After a dialysis center was found to have charged the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for "ghost" kidney treatments, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned the government would run after all medical treatment facilities and officials found to have committed fraud.

In a statement Wednesday night, June 12, Duque hit fraudulent payments made by PhilHealth, saying these were "utterly unacceptable" for the government's health insurance company "to be taken advantage of and used in corruption."

"As Health Secretary and ex-officio Chairman of PhilHealth, I am warning all health providers and PhilHealth officials in the strongest possible terms: do no cheat the system of even attempt to do it," Duque said.

The health chief, who said he was "utterly disappointed" over the fraudulent scheme, urged PhilHealth to strengthen its zero tolerance of overpayments.

"Tama na ang hocus-pocus. Maraming Pilipinong may sakit ang umaasa sa tulong na ibinibigay ng PhilHealth (Enough with the hocus pocus. Many Filipinos who are sick need the help that PhilHealth gives). I will ensure that justice will be served to those who defraud the system," Duque said.

Duque's statement comes after President Rodrigo Duterte asked PhilHealth acting president Roy Ferrer and board members to submit their courtesy resignations. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte would "undoubtedly" accept their resignations.

Dr Brian Sy, one of the owners of the WellMed Dialysis & Laboratory Center, was arrested on Monday, June 10, although no warrant was issued. He remains in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Sy is facing complaints of estafa, falsification of documents, and violation of the PhilHealth law.

Following the exposé, Duque said he has ordered a "revamp" of PhilHealth's accreditation committee.

Duque gave assurances the health department had anti-corruption measures in place as it was set to implement the Universal Health Care Law, a major legislation passed by the Duterte administration. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

image